Two thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
Non-melanoma skin cancer (Basal Cell or Squamous Cell Carcinoma) is the most common type of skin cancer and is more common in men than women. Over 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year.
Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma is the third most common cancer in both Australian women and men, and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years. In 2011, 11,570 people in Australia were diagnosed with melanoma.
In 2012, 2,036 people died from skin cancer in Australia. The majority of these deaths were due to melanoma, with 1,515 deaths from melanoma that year, compared with 521 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers.
The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death.
It is also a good idea to become familiar with the look of your skin, so you pick up any changes that might suggest a skin cancer. Look for:
Moles that increases in size.
An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied.
A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated.
Moles that itch or tingle.
Moles that bleed or weep.
Spots that look different from the others.
In addition to self-monitoring, Sunsmart recommend regular checks by your GP as being the best way to screen for early skin cancers.
Try this online calculator to determine your risk of melanoma.
Our GPs use a handheld dermatoscope as used by specialist dermatologists and is the screening tool recommended by the Australian Cancer Network to pick up malignant melanoma and other skin cancers.
We have facilities for biopsy or excision of worrying lesions (whilst this may be done on the day, may require scheduling a further appointment)