Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer - it can spread and become life-threatening very quickly. But the good news is, if it’s found early, it’s almost always treatable, and beatable. Read on to ensure you know what to look for when you’re checking your skin.
The most obvious warning signs of melanoma are changes to your skin or moles - how they look or feel. It’s important to note that these changes aren’t always accompanied by pain, so early warning signs can go unnoticed if you’re not vigilant about checking your skin regularly. Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, so that’s a pretty good reason to check your skin early and often – and to book a professional skin check every year.
So what do you need to look out for? Read on to find out.
Moles – what’s normal?
Most moles appear when we’re children or young adults. In general, normal moles are:
- Evenly-coloured brown, tan or black
- Flat or raised on the skin
- Round or oval and symmetrical in appearance
- Most often, less than 6 millimetres across.
Your skin is constantly changing: moles usually increase in number during childhood and adolescence, reach peak count in your 20s, then reduce with age. They can also increase in numbers with sun exposure and grow during pregnancy. If you notice a new mole that appears later in life, make sure you get it checked out.