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Awst 2004 August

Health Matters

How to check for signs of skin cancer:

Stand in front of a full length mirror and use a hand held mirror to check your skin, remember to include the soles of your feet and top of your ears and head.

Look for any changes in a mole or the appearance of a new mole. Any moles that appear after you turn 30 should be watched carefully and shown to your doctor.

The ‘ABCDE’ rule can help you look for signs of skin cancer, when you check your skin - look for the following:

A for asymmetry: a mole that, when divided in half, does not look the same on both sides.
B for border: a mole with edges that are blurry or jagged.
C for colour: Changes in the colour of a mole, including darkening, spread of colour, loss of colour, or the appearance of multiple colours such as blue, red, white, pink, purple or grey.
D for diameter: A mole larger than 1/4 inch in diameter (size of the rubber on the end of a pencil).
E for elevation: A mole that is raised above the skin and has a rough surface. You should also watch for the following skin changes:
  • a mole that bleeds,
  • a mole that grows fast,
  • a scaly or crusted growth on the skin,
  • a sore that won’t heal,
  • a mole that itches,
  • a place on your skin that feels rough, like sandpaper.

If you notice a mole that has changed, or if you have a new mole that doesn’t look like your other moles, visit your doctor. Skin cancer can be treated successfully if treated early. Reduce your risk by following the ‘safe sun’ guidelines

1 Avoid the sun especially between 10am. And 4pm.
2 Put on sunscreen - use factor 15, rub it in well 30 minutes before going into the sun, remember the top of your ears and head if any bald areas.
3 Wear a wide brimmed hat, protective clothing and sunglasses. Sun exposure increases your risk of getting cataracts.
4 Don’t use tanning salons; they damage your skin in the same way as the sun.

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