Melanoma is regarded as the most serious form of the ‘common’ skin cancers. It is estimated that melanoma will be responsible for almost 2000 deaths this year in Australia - many of which are preventable. Most melanomas, if caught early, may be regarded as curable. Patients will be monitored carefully, but early removal while the melanoma remains thin is the key to success.
Melanomas may be recognised by a number of criteria – irregular shape, enlarging, multiple colours, etc. A simple and memorable way to assess for melanoma (and other skin cancers) is to SCAN* your skin:
S – Sore
C – Changing
A – Abnormal
N – New
Check your skin regularly (quarterly) and if something catches your attention, get it checked.
The sun and other ultraviolet sources (eg. sunbeds) play a very large part in the risk of developing a melanoma, but are not the only factor. Additionally, melanomas are found in areas that are not exposed to sunlight – or have not been exposed to the sun for many years.
It’s important to have a full skin check and show your doctor any spots that may look abnormal to you.
NB: There can be many variations of a melanoma. Please consult your Skin Cancer doctor if you have any concerns.
* Developed by the Skin Cancer College Australasia