You, your partner and your family will know better than anyone else if something on your skin is new or changing – these are two important early warning signs. Become familiar with your spots and moles, and check your skin regularly.
The Skin Cancer College Australasia promotes a simple, but very effective mantra: SCAN Your Skin.
SCAN means look for a spot or mole that is…
Sore, scaly, itchy, bleeding, tender and doesn’t heal within six weeks.
Changing in appearance, size, shape or colour.
Abnormal: Looks different, feels different, or stands out when compared to others. New: Most melanomas – and all other skin cancers – arise this way.
It is important to check your face, neck, ears and back as well as the front and back of the torso and buttocks, arms, legs, hands (including palms), feet (including soles), and between your fingers and toes (including nails), groin, genital areas and scalp. It may be helpful to use a hand mirror. To check areas that you cannot see you may want to ask you partner or a person that you trust to check you.
Visually scan your skin every 2-3 months because some skin cancers can grow fast over weeks or months.
A general skin check is recommended every year or as advised by your doctor.