Australians have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, 2-3 times that of USA, United Kingdom and Canada.
Two out of three Australians will have at least one skin cancer by the time they reach 70 years.
Queensland has the highest incidence of melanoma in world and melanoma is the commonest “solid” (as opposed to blood cancers) cancer in 16 – 25 year olds.
Who then should have their skin checked and how often?
Certain “skin types” are far more likely to develop skin cancer than other skin types. You can find out what skin type you have by clicking here.
Fitzpatrick types 1 and 2 are especially prone to develop skin cancers and should have their skin checked annually. Skin types 3 and above are less likely to develop skin cancer but are by no means immune.
Other high risk groups includes:
Previous personal history of skin cancer
- Melanoma in first degree relative (sibling, parent)
- History of significant sun exposure
- People on immunosuppressive therapy
If you belong to any of these groups, you should also have a yearly skin check. For people outside of these groups, there are no formal recommendations set by the Australian guidelines but here are some signs and symptoms you can watch out for:
- A spot that is changing (enlarges, darkens, lightens, changes in colour)
- A spot that itches or bleeds
- A spot that is painful or tender to touch
If you notice these signs, see a doctor experienced in skin cancer medicine for a check up. Call 3257 0841 to make an appointment for a comprehensive skin check or click here for more information on our Skin Cancer Clinic.
Dr. Chris has a diploma in skin cancer medicine and has a special interest in skin cancer diagnosis using dermoscopy.