HOW TO DETECT MELANOMA
Survival rate for melanoma is high if detected early and unlike other cancers, melanoma is often clearly visible on the skin.
Use the ABCDE’s of melanoma to check your skin monthly, if you detect any changes to your moles, contact your doctor for
a referral to a dermatologist.
When spotted early, melanoma has a cure rate of 85%. Check your skin monthly.
The two halves of the mole have different shapes.
The edge of the mole is irregular. It may look blurred, ragged, or notched. Pigment may spread into the skin around the mole.
The colour of the mole is uneven. The mole may have different shades of tan, brown, and black, sometimes with blue, gray, red, pink, or white.
While melanomas are usually greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
The mole has changed in the past few weeks or months. It may be itchy, scaling or bleeding.
CHECK YOUR SKIN MONTHLY
As you begin self-examinations it is important to visit a physician to establish a baseline for your moles, blemishes, freckles, and any other marks on your skin, so that you may begin to monitor your skin for any changes. If melanoma is found and treated early, the chances for long-term survival are excellent. However, as it progresses, melanoma becomes increasingly harder to treat and there are limited successful options for treatment.
Check your skin in a well lit area and ask someone to assist you in checking your skin in hard to see areas.
FRONT, BACK, LEFT, RIGHT
Examine your the front and back of your body in a mirror. Then look at your right and left sides, arms raised.
ARMS AND HANDS
Bend your elbows, and look carefully at your forearms, back of upper arms and palms. Check your fingers and under fingernails.
LEGS AND TOES
Look at the backs of your legs and feet, spaces between toes, toenails and soles.
Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part your hair and lift to carefully check.
ABDOMEN AND BOTTOCKS
Finally, check your abdomen, back and buttocks with a hand mirror.