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Skin cancer (melanoma) occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. Most skin cancers that are diagnosed and treated early are curable, however.
Get into the habit of checking your skin regularly. Become familiar with your skin and what looks normal for you to help you find changes earlier. A common misconception is that checking your own skin is less important if you have naturally dark skin. Although the risk of skin cancer is lower, it is more likely to be found at a later, more dangerous stage than people with lighter skin. When checking your skin, find a place with good light and a full-length mirror. Use a hand-held mirror to check your scalp, back, and other places you can’t easily see. Check all of your skin – not just sun-exposed areas. If you notice anything unusual, including any new spots, or change in shape, colour or size of a spot, you should come and see us for a skin cancer check.
Prevention is always better than cure. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun. Seek shade, especially in the hottest part of the day. Wear sun-protective clothing that covers your back, shoulders, arms and legs. Wear a broad-brimmed hat. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 every 2 hours and after swimming or exercise. Wear wrap-around sunglasses.
Please visit our Appointments page to book a time for your skin cancer check with one of the best doctors of Northcote. Should you require treatment, some of our doctors have specialised training in the management of skin cancer.