Spotting the Signs of Skin Cancer: As Easy As ABCDE
Skin cancer is a big concern for Australians. Two thirds of people are diagnosed with the disease by the time they are 70, which makes it one of the most common cancers. Thankfully, skin cancer is treatable, as long as it is caught early.
How to Spot Skin Cancer
It's important to check all parts of your body regularly for signs of skin cancer. Use a mirror or another person to check your back and the back of your head. During these checks, you'll probably notice that you have many moles on your skin, but these aren't necessarily harmful. Use the ABCDE of skin cancer detection to spot the moles that are most likely to be dangerous.
A is for... Asymmetry
Imagine drawing a line through the center of your mole. Would the two sides look the same? Asymmetrical moles that are starting to spread outward in one direction can be early-stage melanomas.
B is for… Border
Pay close attention to the outside edge of the mole. If the mole is spreading outward or has a wriggly, irregular border, it could be cancerous.
C is for… Colour
Normal moles are usually regular in colour, whereas cancerous or pre-cancerous moles often look blotchy. If your mole contains several different colours, it's a good idea to get it checked out.
D is for… Diameter
Moles that are getting bigger are a key warning sign of cancer. If you find any moles that have a diameter of more than 6mm, see your GP for a checkup.
E is for… Evolving
It's important to get to know your moles, so you can quickly spot any changes in them that might signal cancer. A mole that starts growing, changing colour, itching, tingling, bleeding or changing in any other way needs to be checked out.
If you find a suspicious mole during a routine skin check, don't panic. As long as the cancer hasn't spread, it can be treated simply by removing the mole and the skin around it. The chance of surviving melanoma skin cancer is 99 percent if it is detected before it spreads.
Does Your Mole Need Removing?
If it turns out that your mole isn't cancerous, you may still want to consider mole removal. Large moles can be unsightly and catch on clothing or jewelry if they are raised. Mole removal can also help you stop worrying about a large or oddly shaped mole becoming cancerous in the future.