Melanoma March is an annual awareness and fundraising initiative that funds life-changing melanoma research.
This year, there are numerous Melanoma March events taking place across the country. Some participate to remember a loved one whilst others are on their own melanoma journey. All come along in support of finding a cure for melanoma.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which usually occurs on the parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun. Rare melanomas can occur in parts of the skin or body that have never been exposed to the sun.
Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, which along with New Zealand has the world’s highest incidence rate for melanoma.
Melanoma is more commonly diagnosed in men than women. The risk of being diagnosed with melanoma by age 85 is 1 in 13 for men compared to 1 in 22 for women.
This year, more than 14,000 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma. Sadly, around 1,800 will die from the disease.
Often melanoma has no symptoms. However, the first sign is generally a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot. These changes can include:
- Colour – a mole may change in colour or have different colour shades or become blotchy
- Size – a mole may appear to get bigger
- Shape – a mole may have an irregular border or may increase in height
- Elevation – the mole may develop a raised area
- Itching or bleeding.
Other symptoms include dark areas under nails or on membranes lining the mouth, vagina or anus.
New moles and spots will appear and change during childhood, adolescence and during pregnancy and this is normal. However, adults who develop new spots or moles should have them examined by their doctor.
Shannan Ponton, from television program The Biggest Loser, thought he was invincible. He wasn’t. But his melanoma battle ended up saving more than his own life.
His melanoma story began on a beach in Bali when his wife spotted a suspicious looking mole on the back of his thigh. She booked him in for a skin check immediately on his return to Sydney. It was melanoma.
Despite undergoing two rounds of surgery and now sporting a 20cm scar, his melanoma hadn’t spread. He was so rattled by his melanoma diagnosis that he immediately called an ‘intervention’ with his mates, inviting 15 of them around to his house for a BBQ.
“I said boys, we all lead a similar lifestyle. I’ve just been diagnosed with melanoma. I want all of you to go and get a skin check,” Shannan recalls.
All 15 mates at Shannan’s intervention that afternoon booked themselves in for skins checks – 2 were subsequently diagnosed with melanoma.
“If it wasn’t for that intervention and that feeling in my gut to go beyond trying to just help, and actually making a difference, those two guys could not be here now,” Shannan added.
Watch Shannan’s story below.
Get your skin checked at PVH Medical
If you’ve noticed a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot, or you just want a general skin check for your peace of mind, make a booking with a doctor today.
Having a regular skin check could save your life!
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.