Melanoma May

During May Skin2 would like to invite you to check your own skin, the skin of a loved one……and get that skin checked by a doctor, if you find anything of concern.

We all think about skin cancer in summer but not as much in winter, hence this reminder during May as we lead up to the colder months when our clothes seem to stay firmly on.

Click here for a downloadable brochure about how to check your skin and here for a brochure that describes the common skin cancer types.

In this brief blog I would like to introduce three numbers: 13,000, 2000 and 2.

13,000 is the number of melanoma diagnoses that will be made this year. 2000 (just under, actually) unfortunately represents the number of deaths from melanoma that will occur this year.

But these two numbers are vastly different and that is where your opportunity to survive lies.

The majority – the large majority – of melanoma is very treatable if caught early enough; before it has spread beyond the skin and into the body.

If you know what you are looking for, you increase your chance of finding a melanoma early and, therefore, your chance of survival.

Which brings me to the number 2.

If you search for “melanoma” in Google images you will find that page 1 is full of the classic dark black, spreading, ugly, obvious melanomas. And these certainly occur; you should be watchful for them.

What is not commonly appreciated is what appears on page 2 of Google images – the melanomas that are pink or barely coloured, the melanomas that are raised like a nodule, the melanomas that just strike you as slightly different to any other spot on your body.

This is the “page 2 message” I want to get across to you: Look for the odd one out.

Any spot on your skin that “breaks the pattern” of your normal skin moles, lumps, bumps and colours should immediately get your attention. Let your eye be drawn to it. Notice it.

Trust your intuition.

(The origins of your intuition are far older than the human brain and have evolved to save your life. Use it to spot that melanoma. A blog on that here)

Every three or four months take a minute – literally a minute – to check your skin and look for anything that appears different or you think may have changed.

Take that concerning spot to your doctor, ensure they examine it with a dermatoscope (a specific tool for examining skin) and either give you a reassuring diagnosis or arrange for the spot to be removed for testing.

We want to get that 2000 down to 0.