Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. According to national data Over 440,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer and unfortunately more than 2000 Australians die each year from skin cancer. Skin Cancer can be found on any part of the body and Cancers are either Melanoma or Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSC). According to cancer council of Australia, 2 in 3 Australian’s will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
Cancer is a disease of the cells that occurs when abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way and damage or invade the surrounding tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Skin cancer affects the body’s skin cells and is mainly caused by exposure to Ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The sun’s Ultraviolet radiation is the major cause of skin cancer. Ultraviolet damage also causes sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage. As we spend more time in the sun during the warmer months, it is important to be aware of your risks of developing skin cancer and how to prevent it.
While sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancer, there are other factors that can increase someone’s risk of developing the disease such as large numbers of freckles/mole you have, family history, work in the sun, have blue/green eyes, light skin and depressed immune system.
The sooner a skin cancer is identified the easier is to treat. Early detection is key to beat skin cancer. When combined with the lifestyle changes, there are many benefits of early detection such as prevent recurrence of skin cancer, avoid the chance of surgery along with disfigurement or even death from Melanoma skin cancer. The good news is that over 95% of skin cancers can be treated if found early.
The best ways to ensure skin cancer is found early is to get to know your skin and what’s normal for you which is possible through a comprehensive skin check in the practice. Become familiar with the look of your skin is very important to pick up any changes that might suggest a skin cancer. Any changes including new spots or changes in shape, colour or size of an existing spot should be checked.
a skin check is a comprehensive assessment conducted annually for any signs of skin cancer. Regular skin checks are vital, as they can pinpoint early signs of skin diseases before they advance. Apart from facilitating early skin cancer diagnosis, the skin check is an opportunity to assess the patient’s individual risk, educate them on skin self-examination, how to modify their behaviour in the sun, reinforce the primary prevention and early detection of skin cancer.
The 5 S’s to remember to protect your skin from sunburn:
- Slip on sun protective clothing
- Slop on broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen SPF at least 50+ every 2 hours and after swimming or exercise.
- Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears
- Seek shade
- Slide on sunglasses
If you suspect any new spots or suspicious moles, don’t hesitate to make an appointment by calling The Madison Medical Practice St Ives on 9440-9411 to make an appointment with Dr Chitra Das our resident GP who specialises in Skin Cancer reviews and surgical intervention. Alternatively you can make an appointment via our website or HealthEngine by choosing a Skin Check.