The Australian Cancer Council recommends that all adults, particularly those aged 40 and over, should:
- become familiar with their skin
- check all areas of their skin, including skin not normally exposed to the sun
- look for changes in shape, colour or size, or a new spot – if you notice anything unusual, see your doctor straight away
- seek assistance from others to check difficult to see areas, such as their back.
You should have your skin checked at least once a year; if you are at high risk of skin cancer then checking your skin at least every 3 months is wise. This Body Map
and the Sunsmart 5 steps for skin self-examination
are very useful tools to help you perform a skin self-examination. You will also need a mirror, and many people find that doing a skin check with a close friend or family member makes it easier to see difficult areas (like behind your ears, and on your back). To help you know what you are looking for Sunsmart has produced a 2 page PDF guide to skin cancers, warning signs and harmless spots that can be viewed here: How to check for skin cancers.
If you have any concerns about your skin always seek assistance from a qualified health professional. For skin lesions where there is doubt or uncertainty a biopsy is a reliable method of determining what treatment you need.
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