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New research highlights the importance of educating clients about skin cancer checks

New research highlights the importance of educating clients about skin cancer checks

New research conducted by specialist clinic Skin Institute reveals concerning awareness and uptake of regular skin checks.

A survey of 1000 people shows 84 percent of respondents haven’t had a skin check in the past year and more than half have never had one at all. Just 16 percent get checked annually, the frequency recommended by skin specialists.

These findings are particularly concerning given New Zealand’s has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, with melanoma accounting for 80 percent of all skin cancer deaths.

Despite this, 43 percent of those surveyed said they just hadn’t thought about getting a check, while 40 percent didn’t believe they needed one and 33 percent considered it too expensive.

Speaking to Stuff, Dr Sam Mayhew, a skin cancer specialist at Skin Institute, conceded it can be expensive, though says there are multiple options; from the specialist full body checks at Skin Institute to free single spot checks – and many GPs are trained in detecting skin cancer too.

Melanoma is the most seri­ous form of skin can­cer — it can spread and become life-threat­en­ing very quick­ly. However, if detected ear­ly, it’s almost always treat­able, and beat­able

For those in the business of skin, whether medi-aesthetics or thereapeutic, education around this should be part of every consultation. Encourage clients to check their skin reg­u­lar­ly or bet­ter still, to book an expert skin check.

Spotting the signs

According to Dr Mayhew, the most obvi­ous warn­ing signs of melanoma are changes to your skin or moles in how they look or feel. 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 and book­ing annu­al skin checks. 

Asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven colour and change are among the things to look out for.

According to MoleMap, The A.B.C.D.E. rule is a sim­ple guide to check­ing for the ear­ly signs of melanoma. Look out for the following:

Asym­me­try – The shape of one half does not match the other.

Bor­der – The edges are often ragged, notched, blurred, or irreg­u­lar in out­line; the pig­ment may spread into the sur­round­ing skin.

Colour – The colour is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, grey, red, pink, or blue also may be seen.

Diam­e­ter – Size changes and usu­al­ly increas­es. Typ­i­cal­ly, melanomas are at least 6mm in diam­e­ter (the diam­e­ter of a pencil).

Evolv­ing – look for new moles or changes to any moles.

The E.F.G. rule

The E.F.G. rule is anoth­er guide that recog­nis­es a type of melanoma known as nodu­lar melanoma. It can grow very quick­ly so ear­ly detec­tion and treat­ment is vital.

If you are check­ing your skin your­self, look out for:

Ele­vat­ed: Moles that are raised on the skin.

Firm: Moles that are firm to touch.

Grow­ing: Moles that grow and change very rapidly.