The most important thing you may do for your health this winter is get your skin checked. While most people take on-board the sun-smart message during summer, it is often neglected during the winter months.
Did you know:
2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
More than 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year.
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
Skin cancers account for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia.
Skin cancers can develop at any time, so sun protection measures and skin checks should not be neglected during the cooler months. People need to be aware that skin lesions from sun damage during summer months won’t be obvious straight away. It may take months or years for the damage to develop into a skin cancer.
Why winter is an ideal time for a skin check:
Less skin is visible
In winter, we don’t have a lot of skin exposed and we are less likely to notice any moles changing in size or colour. So, winter is a time when we need to actively decide to check our skin or have a skin check by medical professional.
Better viewing and chance of early detection
Additionally, winter may prove to be the best time for a full skin check. As most people are covered up during the winter months, this minimises sun exposure to skin lesions and moles. This can allow for better dermoscopy viewing (a distinct magnifying light, which allows a doctor to closely examine spots on the skin). Sun exposure can cause a mole to transform slightly which can make a normal mole appear suspect.
Protect your skin this winter
Remember to protect your skin this winter by applying 30+ sunscreen to exposed areas of skin such as the face and hands and don’t forget your lips and ears, and wear protective goggles or sunglasses for work, sports or time out in the sun. If you notice a spot on the skin that looks different from the others or is changing, bleeding or itchy, it should be examined by a doctor.
The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death.
It is also recommended to talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection.
It's important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so that you notice any changes. Skin cancers rarely hurt and are much more frequently seen rather than felt.
Develop a regular habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles.
Toukley Family Practice Skin Cancer Clinic operates five days a week and no referral is required.
Patients can telephone the clinic directly 4352 8644 to make an appointment.
Most procedures are directly billed to Medicare, however there is a small surgical facility fee charged to cover the cost of special suture and dressing materials.
Mariners Medical also offers Thursday Skin Sessions with Dr Kemp, call 4356 2555 to book an appointment.
Tuggerah Medical Centre
Toukley Family Practice
Warnervale GP Super Clinic