All Posts Tagged: skin cancer

Skin cancer

Checking for skin cancer

Skin cancer is a disease of the body’s skin cells. Skin cancer develops when the cells which make up our skin are damaged and grow abnormally.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause of skin cancer. Each time your skin is damaged by UV, changes take place in the structure and function of the skin cells.

If UV damage keeps adding up, skin cells become less able to repair, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Early treatment is key

Most skin cancer can be successfully treated if it’s found early. But without treatment, skin cancer can be deadly.

Get to know your skin and what looks normal for you to help you find changes earlier. Get into the habit of checking your skin regularly.

This is also important if you have naturally dark skin. Although your risk of melanoma is lower, it is more likely to be found at a later, more dangerous stage than people with lighter skin.

Checking your skin

Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin, or are noticed by a loved one.

So how do you check your skin? First, find a room with good light and a full-length mirror.

If you’re on your own, use a hand-held mirror as well to check skin you can’t see (e.g. your scalp, back, etc.).

Undress and check all of your skin, not just sun-exposed areas. This includes your underarms, scalp, groin, and the soles of your feet.

Examine your skin, body part by body part, until you have checked your whole body.

Watch the video below for a step-by-step approach to a self-examination.

 

You can read about the signs of skin cancer here.

What if you find something?

If you notice anything unusual, including any new spots, or change in shape, colour or size of a spot, visit your Pascoe Vale doctor as soon as possible.

If you’re unable to do a self-examination, you can book in a regular skin check with one of our doctors.

Remember to be sun smart!

It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun. Remember to follow these five steps:

  1. Slip on clothing
  2. Slop on sunscreen
  3. Slap on a hat
  4. Seek shade
  5. Slide on sunglasses.

Using sun protection will cut your risk of skin cancer at any age. Ask us if you have any questions!

 

Source: SunSmart

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.

Read More
Our doctors in Pascoe Vale can answer any questions you have about skin cancer.

Be SunSmart this summer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.

Over 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma cancers in Australia each year and over 11,500 people are treated for melanoma cancers.

In 2011, there were more than 2,000 deaths from melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is our main source of Vitamin D, but it is also the major cause of skin cancer. Skin can burn in just 15 minutes in the summer sun.

Skin cancer is largely preventable

Be SunSmart. When the UV level is 3 or above, protect yourself against sun damage and skin cancer by following these steps:

Our doctors in Pascoe Vale can answer any questions you have about skin cancer.

1. Slip on clothing

Cover as much skin as possible, such as shirts with long sleeves and high necks/collars. Wear clothing made from close-weave materials such as cotton, polyester/cotton and linen.

When swimming, wear material such as lycra which stays sun-protective when wet.

2. Slop on sunscreen

Sunscreen is only effective if you apply enough to your body, including your face, 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Reapply every two hours outside, and immediately after swimming, towel-drying, or heavy sweating.

It’s best to use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) water-based sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.

3. Slap on a hat

A broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket-style hat provides good protection for the face, nose, neck and ears, which are common sites for skin cancers. Caps and visors do not provide enough protection.

Choose a hat made with closely woven fabric – if you can see through it, UV radiation will get through. Hats may not protect you from reflected UV radiation, so also wear sunglasses and sunscreen.

4. Seek shade

Be UV cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense. Shade provides good sun protection, but remember that UV rays reflect off surfaces such as sand, water and paving, so use other sun protection measures when in the shade too.

5.  Slide on sunglasses

Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98%. Sunglasses should be worn outside during daylight hours.

Choose close-fitting, wrap-around sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard AS 1067. Sunglasses are as important for children as they are for adults.

Finally…

Check your skin regularly and see your doctor if you notice any unusual skin changes. If you have a lesion that doesn’t heal, or a mole that has suddenly appeared, changed in size, thickness, shape, colour or has started to bleed, see your doctor immediately.

Treatment is more likely to be successful if skin cancer is discovered early. Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors.

 

Source: Cancer Council Australia

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.

Read More