Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer with a high rate of incidence in Australia and New Zealand. Usually a result of overexposure to sun, it is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancers. The outdoors lifestyle is popular in Melbourne, and in combination with the higher levels of UV radiation many people are at risk of developing skin cancers. There are also some rare forms of melanoma can also affect some parts of the body that do not receive sun exposure, including on the soles of your feet.Therefore, whether you spend a lot of time in the sun or otherwise, it is recommended to have regular skin checks.
Who is at risk?
Given that 1 out of 13 men and 1 out of 22 women on an average are diagnosed with melanoma, anybody with increased sun exposure could be at risk. The risk factors are particularly high for those who have had a history of sunburn and tanning during childhood or an unusually high number of moles. Even those with weaker immunity or a family history of melanoma are susceptible to this condition. So if you live in Melbourne, make sure you have a skin check.
Symptoms you should watch out for
Melanoma symptoms are not always very clear. But one of the clearest indications of melanoma is a marked change in an existing mole, or the appearance of a new one. This could include a change in the colour, shape, size, elevation and texture of the mole, or even itching and bleeding around an existing mole. Sometimes, this could be confused with the regularly occurring moles during childhood and pregnancy. One should also be alert about dark areas that develop under nails.
How is melanoma detection carried out in Melbourne?
A certified skin cancer doctor will look for suspected melanomas using a dermatoscope, which provides a magnified image of skin lesions under polarised light, to visualise features not visible to the naked eye. If there is a suspected case of melanoma, an excision is required to confirm the diagnosis.
Mole-mapping is a very useful exercise in keeping a track of moles, by taking digital images of skin lesions under magnification. A mole map at regular intervals can keep track of minute changes to skin lesions over time, aiding in the diagnosis of melanomas.
Early melanoma detection is crucial, as it provides the opportunity to diagnose and remove melanomas before they spread. The Manningham Skin Cancer Clinic offers a thorough skin cancer screening and monitoring. We are also able to provide treatment for most cases of skin cancers.