06 Nov Keeping skin safe … the facts you need to know
With the warmer weather approaching UV exposure is something to be thinking about. Remember prevention is the best medicine for skin cancer so make sure you use sun sense this summer… slip, slop, slap and wrap!
- SLIP – into shade where possible and use sun protective clothing
- SLOP – on broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply regularly, especially after swimming
- SLAP on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.
- WRAP – on some close fitting sunglasses – your eyes need protecting as well.
Pre-summer is also a great time to check yourself for any new or changing moles. Early detection of any problems improves your chances of successful treatment. It is normal to have spots on your skin but its important to get to know your spots so you can notice any changes as early as possible. You should discuss your concerns with your doctor if you have a mole, freckle or spot that is:
- new or changing
- does not heal
- looks different from others around it
- has changed in size, thickness, shape, colour
- has started to bleed
Melanoma NZ recommends that you use the “ABCDE” to help with identification of new or changing moles or skin lesions, although not all skin cancers will show these characteristics.
Asymmetry: two halves of the mole are different from one another.
Border: the edges of the mole are poorly defined. It is ragged, notched, blurred or an irregular shape.
Colour: the colour is uneven with shades of black, brown and tan. Melanomas may also be white, grey, red, pink or blue.
Different: from other lesions (ugly duckling) there is a change, particularly an increase, in size. Melanomas are usually bigger than the end of a pencil (6mm).
Here’s a guide to doing a skin self-check at home-
If you worry, or are in doubt about skin cancer or any changes on your skin, Dr Mark Edmond or Dr Jayne Davies can help. They offer advanced evidence based skin cancer detection using the techniques recommended by the Skin Cancer College of Australasia. They use digital dermoscopy for a Spot Check or Skin Scope or dermoscopy combined with total body photography to identify all types of skin cancer before it becomes a threat to your health. They will then make treatment recommendations based on what they find. These are non-invasive techniques requiring a 15, 30 or 45 minute appointment respectively.
Be proactive this summer to help reduce your risk of skin damage. For more information, visit our website – www.aspiringmedical.co.nz or call 03 4430725 for an appointment.