Skin Cancer and Skin Checks
When you have a rash, you easily identify it because it covers a large area and you might feel some discomfort, pain or itch. This is why you might not have to carry out a skin check to look for a rash. Skin checks are usually linked to skin cancer because most of the time skin cancer is caught too late to be treated.
You should know that there are three kinds of skin cancer: basal and squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. The worst of these three is melanoma because it can spread to other organs. However, it is not as common as the other two.
Skin cancer comes from exposure to harmful UV rays that either come from the sun or tanning beds. This is why commercial tanning beds are banned in Australia. Since the sun is a natural phenomenon, you can only ensure that you protect yourself from excessive sun exposure by using sunscreen, wearing hats and staying under shades.
The other thing you should do in addition to protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is to carry out skin checks regularly. You are looking for moles. If it is your first time checking for moles, you might need to visit a skin clinic first to get some small "training" on how to inspect your body and to know how a skin cancer mole feels. This way you get to know the difference between a normal mole, a squamous cell carcinoma mole, a basal cell carcinoma mole and a melanoma mole.
You should, however, know some important signs to look out for: a mole that changes colour or is multicoloured, an irregularly shaped mole or a mole that oozes, bleeds or is painful. It is most important to check your face, neck, armpits, back, groin area and scalp. This does not mean you shouldn't check other areas. Inspect every inch of your skin.
Why People Die from Skin Cancer
From the symptoms mentioned above, you would think that it is easy to sense the presence of a skin cancer mole. This is only true if it is in a visible area, painful, bleeding, swollen or oozing. Note that for some people the mole may be hidden, not painful, bleeding or swollen. If this is the case and you have melanoma, cancer can slowly spread and you might only find out after it is too late. This is why dermatologists and skin cancer doctors emphasize the importance of skin checks.
For more information on skin checks, contact a dermatologist.