How to check your skin – early detection of skin cancer starts with you

According to skin cancer management GP Dr. Thilan Walgamage, we need to be checking our skin every month “it’s not just a quick once over” he says “think of your skin like a road map – check head to toe and – study your spots and moles and take notice of any changes”.

Skin Cancers are responsible for more deaths than road traffic accidents – it’s now common knowledge that seat belts save lives, but we don’t talk much about how skin checks save lives”.

 “And early detection starts with you – as a skin cancer treating doctor, I always recommend my patients check their skin often to detect any abnormality.

When detected early, most skin cancers are highly treatable. Skin cancers appear in many shapes and sizes so it’s important to know the warning signs commonly associated with skin cancers.”

Thilan’s advice is that if you see something NEW, CHANGING or UNUSUAL get it checked by a trained professional right away. It could be skin cancer. This includes:

  • A growth that increases in size and appears pearly, transparent, tan, brown, black, or multi-coloured.
  • A mole, birthmark or brown spot that increases in size, thickness, changes colour or texture, or is bigger than a pencil eraser.
  • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab or bleed.
  • An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.

So here’s the gen – how to perform your skin check

A thorough self-exam requires the following simple supplies: a bright light, a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, two chairs or stools, a blow-dryer, paper and a pencil.

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