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A recent trip to my doctor prompted a closer look into some marks that had appeared on my face, the most noticeable being on my nose.
With a family history of skin cancers, I was already fearing the worst, but my GP remained relatively cool, even saying he didn’t believe it to be anything too serious, but to have it checked at the skin cancer clinic. Quietly terrified, I kept my appointment with the clinic, and faced the music-you see I had spent much of my young adulthood chasing the sun, whether it be at a beach or local swimming pool and over the years had sported a nice “glow”….little did I realise this so-called “good look” would come back to bite me years later.
So after a complete and thourough examination, literally from head-to-toe, the doctor confirmed what I had dreaded hearing-the growth was indeed a form of skin cancer and had to be removed! A few weeks later I was in his waiting room, trying to muster up some courage, whilst contimplating reasons to make a hasty exit…then my name was called. I won’t elaborate here, let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant, and when the procedure was finally over needed a few moments to stop the shaking in my legs! It will be another 2 weeks before the stitches can be removed at which time I will also receive the results of the biopsy, already feeling slightly anxious.
What have I learned from this event? Beauty really is only skin deep, and if you want to live a full and healthy life then stop worrying about a tan, and focus more on covering up…there’s absolutely nothing sexy about skin cancer!skin-cross-section

Skin Cancer in Australia is at an epidemic proportion. Not one other country in the world shares as much skin cancer related burden than Australia. We all know of someone close to us who has died from skin cancers. This fact further reinforces the immense burden that this conditions places in our society.

Skin cancer types are named after the skin cell in which the cancer develops: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Carcinoma is another word for cancer. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are often grouped together and called ‘common’ or ‘non-melanoma’ skin cancers. 

What does skin cancer look like?

Skin cancer generally stands out as being quite different to surrounding skin. If a spot strikes you as being a bit odd, take it seriously – it is worth getting it checked out .

Skin cancer mostly appears as a new and unusual looking spot. It may also appear as an existing spot that has changed in colour, size or shape.

Melanoma

Melanoma can grow very quickly. It can become life-threatening in as little as six weeks and if untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body. It can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun. 

It is usually flat with an uneven smudgy outline.
It may be blotchy and more than one colour – brown, black, blue, red or grey.
Use ABCD to look for melanoma where:

  • A= asymmetry, look for spots that are asymmetrical not round
  • B= border, look for spots with uneven borders
  • C= colour, look for spots with an unusual or uneven colour
  • D= diameter, look for spots that are larger than 7 mm
  • Most deadly form of skin cancer.
  • If left untreated can spread to other parts of the body.
  • Appears as a new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape.
  • Can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun.

For more detailed information check out these links!
http://www.skincancermedicine.com.au/

http://www.sunsmart.com.au/skin-cancer/skin-cancer-types

http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/check-for-signs-of-skin-cancer.html

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