Checking your skin regularly could save your life

Checking your skin regularly could save your life

Checking your skin regularly could save your life

 

Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

But the good news is if diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer is curable.

On top of checking your own skin every three months, it’s recommended that you get a professional to check your skin once a year at a minimum.

Gladstone GP SuperClinic’s Dr Jalal Agha, who has a special interest in skin cancer, said their clinic is seeing a steady slow increase of most skin cancers in general.

“The good thing is that we have an increase in the number of people attending the clinic to get their skin checks,” he said.

“In addition there is also improved awareness around sun protection.”

The clinic’s Dr Astrid Baade, who has been diagnosing and treating skin cancer in Gladstone residents for over 14 years, also stressed that regular skin checks were important to detect skin cancer early.

“People at home should check their skin on a regular basis looking for any new or changing dark or light coloured spots,” she said.

“Any rapidly growing lesions need immediate attention.”

Both agreed there was no better time than now for the detection and management of skin cancers.

“Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world,” Dr Agha said.

“Two-thirds of all Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.

“The good news is we have all these valuable tools and resources, including knowledge, skills and training, available to detect and treat skin cancers early, especially the killer one, Melanoma.”

To assist with this process the clinic has recently subscribed to DermEngine, special subscription software technology for the imaging, documentation or skin conditions including skin cancer.

“It’s a photograph collecting software used for assessing spots, and the short or long term monitoring of moles,” Dr Baade said.

“It’s also capable of total body photography, which is especially useful in people with previous melanomas, and people with many moles, more than 50, to detect new or changing ones.”

For information on how to check for signs of skin cancer at home visit www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/causes-and-prevention/sun-safety/check-for-signs-of-skin-cancer

 

Protect your skin

For the best protection, the Cancer Council recommends a combination of sun protection measures:

  1. Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  2. Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
  3. Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
  4. Seek shade.
  5. Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.