How To Detect Skin Cancer

More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. While that is a lot people, it is relatively low per capita when compared to Australia. Australians are 5 times more likely to get skin cancer than Americans with around 375,000 being diagnosed each year. Why is that the case? There are a number of possible reasons such as:

  • being in the southern hemisphere where the sun is more intense
  • lack of protection from the ozone layer
  • the Australian outdoor lifestyle

How to Detect Skin Cancer

Early detection is the key to successfully treating skin cancer. Checking your skin regularly will help you to detect any skin cancers and improve your chances of being one of the 90% who survive skin cancer.

The signs to look for are:

  • A crusty, non-healing sore.
  • A small lump which is red, pale or pearly in colour.
  • A new spot, freckle or mole changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of several weeks to months.
  • Particular attention should be paid to spots that are dark brown to black, red or blue-black.

This video explains the different types of skin cancers and what to look for when checking your skin:

This Australian Government ad shows how dangerous skin cancer can be if left untreated:

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun. You can do this by:

  • wearing a hat
  • wearing protective clothing
  • staying in the shade
  • wearing sunglasses
  • using sunscreen daily, even in winter

See your doctor immediately if you are concerned about any unusual spots on your skin.