Why You Should Be on the Lookout for Signs of Melanoma
Australia is one of the sunniest places on earth, and that represents a significant risk to residents and visitors. It's never a good idea to go out in the midday sun without some form of skin protection, but it's almost impossible to avoid any exposure whatsoever. With this in mind, it's even more important to carry out a self-check from time to time and to examine your entire body in the mirror. You should be looking for signs of melanoma here, but how can you identify it and when should you worry?
Most people, as they age, will develop moles or other spots on their skin. This is perfectly normal and, usually, harmless, but you need to be sure that this imperfection is passive and is not a melanoma.
Be suspicious whenever you develop something and ask yourself whether it looks different from all of the other spots or imperfections on your skin. If you find something unusual, look closely. Does it have an irregular border, or is one half somewhat different from the other? Also, you need to be on the lookout for colour variations. Something suspicious might have multiple colours, like reds, blues, browns and blacks. The larger the mole, the more you should look at it — if it appears to have grown as time goes by, it could well be a melanoma.
This form of skin cancer can also manifest as darkened lines underneath the nails of the fingers or toes. It can appear like a bruise anywhere on the skin, including on the bottom of the feet. People think that they cannot develop skin cancer in an area that never sees the sun, but unfortunately, this is not the case. As such, you need to examine your entire body and, if possible, get a partner or another member of the family to help you.
Melanoma can develop with little fanfare, and you may not notice it unless you take time for self-examination. You may not feel its presence, although sometimes, it may itch, and on occasion, it may bleed if you scratch.
Taking It Further
If you find something suspicious and want some professional advice, get in touch with a dermatologist as soon as possible. Also, be on the lookout for a skin cancer clinic in your locality. They will be able to do a complete examination and let you know what they find.