Skin cancer, including melanoma, is the most common form of cancer and affects millions each year. If detected early, however, it is also one of the easiest to treat and cure. Undetected and untreated, a skin melanoma will spread rapidly and lead to secondary malignant tumours elsewhere. Easy to say, detection of skin melanoma is important.
How and when to look for skin melanomas?
It is recommended that we all check our bodies for skin changes every month. As a melanoma can occur anywhere on your body, these checks should be from head to toe. If anything suspicious is spotted or changes are noted in existing moles, visit your doctor immediately. You might want to ask your doctor to check you out now and give the all clear on any existing moles.
How to prevent melanoma
This will give you a baseline for future self checks. Once you know you body, your monthly check shouldn’t take up more can ten minutes of your time. A small price to pay for your future health.
What to look for when checking your body for skin melanomas?
In its initial stages, a skin melanoma doesn’t hurt, so the first thing to look for is any sign of change or any new growths.
You probably have several moles or birthmarks on your body that have been there since childhood. If these start to grow in size and thickness or change colour and texture, ask your doctor to check them out as soon as possible. Moles of different colours or ones that are irregular and asymmetrical in outline are more likely to be precancerous, especially if they appear after the age of 21.
Moles larger than 6 mm in diameter also present higher risk. If you have hurt yourself or have an open spot or sore that won’t heal and continues to itch, hurt, scab or bleed for more than three weeks, this needs checking out quickly.
Some doctors will advise you to use the ABCDE approach as an aid to memory when checking for a skin melanoma. In short, this stands for:
Remember these five words during your monthly check-ups and you will be ahead of the game in detecting any abnormalities and preventing a growth becoming a dangerous skin melanoma.