The majority of skin cancers are found by people while they’re checking their own skin, or by a loved one who notices something’s changed. Examining yourself regularly, as well as having full checks by a doctor, is vital to early detection of skin cancer.
Unsure of how to go about a self-examination? Here are the basics.
How to check
- Use a full-length mirror and a hand mirror so that you can see the back of your body too.
- Undress completely in good light.
- Check everywhere, remembering that skin cancers can occur between fingers and toes, under nails, on the soles of your feet, in the palms of your hands and on your scalp.
- If possible, get a partner, family member or friend to help you check difficult areas like your scalp and back.
What to look for
Skin cancer often appears as:
- a new and unusual-looking spot
- an existing spot that has changed in size, colour or shape.
It’s useful to remember the ABCDE rule when you check. Look out for:
- A: asymmetry (spots that aren’t symmetrical)
- B: border (spots with uneven borders)
- C: colour (spots with unusual or uneven colour)
- D: diameter (spots larger than 7mm)
- E: evolving (spots that are changing or growing)
What to do if you find something
If you are concerned about any spot, mole or lesion on your skin, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. They’ll:
- examine your skin
- discuss your risk factors and family history
- perform any necessary excisions
- refer you to a dermatologist for a second opinion or treatment if needed.
Our team of GPs at Family Doctors Plus is experienced in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. We have a dedicated skin cancer treatment space with state-of-the-art equipment for excisions. You can book a standard appointment with us to have your skin checked.