* Individual results may vary.
The specialist dermatologists at Platinum Dermatology enjoy addressing a broad range of aesthetic concerns, but it is their attention to skin health that is the hallmark of their expertise as dermatologists and makes us exceptionally proud. As skincare professionals, our team is always on the lookout for one of the scourges of Australian skin health: melanoma disguised as a mole, freckle or birthmark.
In this article, Platinum Dermatology gives you the tools you need to protect your skin, your health, and your family because YOU are a key factor in the equation for good skin health:
“About half of melanomas are detected by the patient and present with a history of a new and/or changing lesion” – National Health and Medical Research Council
Skin Cancer Prevention Tips
Melanoma is a form of cancer that forms in the skin’s pigment cells and is all too common here in Australia.
“30 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma every day and more than 1,200 will die from the disease each year.” – Melanoma Institute Australia
As with many health problems that affect people across Australia, prevention is the best cure. When it comes to protecting your skin:
- Limit exposure to damaging rays of the sun
- Wear protective hats, clothing, and eye gear
- Wear and reapply a broad spectrum sunscreen frequently
- Check your skin on a regular basis
- Have regular (annual) full skin examinations by a dermatologist, or your family GP if they are confident to do so
Platinum Dermatology Explains the ABCDE’s of Melanoma
Pain is not a symptom of melanoma, but changes are, and in order to notice changes, it’s important that you know your skin baseline. Examine your body for moles and freckles, and check them every few months to see if they look the same.
Look for changes in these A-E areas identified by the DermNet NZ:
- Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, or blurry.
- Colour: The colour is mottled and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, blue, or white.
- Diameter: The spot is larger the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or colour.
Other warning bells that cancer may be present include
- A persistent itch
- A flat mole that becomes lumpy
- A mole that bleeds
- A sore that doesn’t heal
Platinum Dermatology’s Easy Do-It-Yourself Skin Check
Early detection of melanoma can mean the difference between a simple treatment at Platinum Dermatology and skin cancer surgery. We encourage our patients to visit our practice annually for a skin health check up. At risk patients may need to attend more regularly. Between check-ups, our specialist dermatologists suggest our patients use this simple step-by-step self-exam.
Think of this exam as an exercise in self-health and self-love. Set aside time to do it correctly so that you don’t rush. You’re worth it.
- Examine your face, including your nose, lips, mouth, and ears (front and back, please).
- Examine your scalp. If you have a lot of hair, use a blow dryer and mirror to reveal sections of your scalp one at a time.
- Examine your palms and the back of your hands and look at the skin between your fingers and under your fingernails. Then examine your wrists and the front and back of your forearms.
- Examine the sides of your upper arms and your underarms standing in front of a full-length mirror.
- Examine your neck chest and torso. (Women should examine the underside of their breasts, as should men with excess breast tissue)
- Examine the back of your neck, shoulders, upper back, and any part of your arms that you haven’t yet evaluated using a hand mirror and a full length mirror.
- Examine your lower back, buttocks, and the backs of both legs.
- Examine your genitalia by sitting on a stool and propping up each leg in turn.
- Examine the front and sides of your legs from shin to thigh, as well as your ankles.
- Examine the tops and bottoms of your feet, along with the skin between the toes and under the toenails.
Two more useful tips:
- For hard to see areas of the body, enlist the help of a family member.
- An easy way to stick to a regular skin check routine is to plan on checking for melanoma at the change of every season (i.e. 3 months).
- If you notice a change in a mole, freckle, or birthmark, Platinum Dermatology suggests that you be assessed as a priority; either by your GP or by a specialist dermatologist, such as those you’ll meet at Platinum Dermatology.
Most importantly, don’t delay getting a professional opinion if you suspect that you may have melanoma. There are many options for treatment, and the sooner you get the opinion of a qualified dermatologist, the sooner you’ll be on the road to a successful treatment.*
Check-Up for Skin Cancer at Platinum Dermatology in Ultimo
If you have questions about moles, birthmarks, melanoma, skin tags, freckles or any other condition affecting skin health, we hope you will contact Platinum Dermatology on (02) 8014 6500 or use the contact form on this page to schedule an appointment for a skin check in Ultimo.
* Individual results may vary.