Did you know Australia has the highest melanoma rate in the world? Melanoma is the most common cancer affecting 20- to 39-year-olds. One Australian is diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes, and one loses their life every five hours.
Australia’s skin cancer stats can be scary, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself from this deadly disease through prevention and early detection.
Melanoma March is a timely reminder about the dangers of melanoma and the importance of regular skin checks. It is a month to promote awareness about our “national cancer” and raise funds for vital treatments that save lives.
Melanoma Institute Australia is working towards zero deaths from melanoma, a view wholeheartedly shared by Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic and embodied by our vision of a world where nobody dies from skin cancer – not just this month but every day.
How you can take steps to beat melanoma
This Melanoma March, take the time to learn the ABCs of melanoma. Get to know the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, learn to monitor the skin of yourself and your loved ones, and book in a skin cancer check to pick up small changes early. It could save your life.
Get to know the signs of skin cancer.
A mole may be suspicious if it shows one or more of the following ABC signs of melanoma. If you notice any of these signs, you should quickly see a doctor for a thorough skin check-up.
|NORMAL MOLES||SUSPICIOUS MOLES|
The two halves of the mole don’t match if you draw a line through the middle.
The edges of the mole are notched or uneven.
There are a variety of colours, including shades of black, blue, red, tan, or white.
The mole is larger than 6mm (approx. the size of a pencil eraser).
The mole is raised, nodular, or lumpy to the touch.
The mole feels hard or firm.
The mole has grown bigger in the past few weeks or months.
Outside of your annual skin cancer check, you should see a doctor if any mole:
- changes shape, colour, or size;
- becomes crusted, itchy, flaky, or bleeds easily;
- won’t heal after a few weeks;
- becomes raised or irritable; or
- appears anew, especially if you are over the age of 30.
Monitor your own skin and your loved ones’ skin for suspicious signs.
In between visits to the doctor, the person most likely to notice an irregular spot on your skin is you! Skin cancer effects two in three Australians by the age of 70, but it doesn’t have to be deadly if it’s caught early. If you keep track of new and changing moles, and get them checked by your doctor if they are concerning, then you stand the best chance of catching the disease before it requires invasive treatment or spreads to other parts of your body.
Learn how to self-monitor for skin cancer between professional full-body checks with our self-check skin cancer guide.
See a doctor for a professional skin cancer check every year.
Regular skin cancer checks with a trained doctor are essential for early detection of skin cancer and might save your life.
Encourage your loved ones to get regular skin cancer checks.
Our friends and family can need some encouragement to get a skin check, and it’s important to keep an eye on your loved ones’ skin (especially in areas they can’t see themselves, such as the back, neck and scalp) and encourage them to get a skin check if they are overdue.
If you have ever been diagnosed with melanoma, your parents, siblings and children have a significantly higher risk of developing the disease too.
Consider participating in the Melanoma March.
See how you can support Melanoma Institute Australia’s Melanoma March event.
Look after your skin health every day with sun-safe habits!
There are simple ways to reduce your skin cancer risk:
- Slip on a shirt
- Slop on broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- Seek shade
- Slide on sunglasses.
- Avoid the outdoors during peak UV times, which are usually between 10am-2pm. You can check the UV index on your weather forecast.