Today marks the end of Melanoma Awareness week here in NZ, a timely reminder to check both your own skin as well as your family’s skin, or book in to see a professional to get a full body skin check. With over 4000 New Zealanders diagnosed with a Melanoma every year, it’s something we all need to be aware of.
Check yourself and your loved ones:
Start by checking your entire body, including skin not normally exposed to the sun. You could ask for help from someone else to check difficult-to-see areas, such as your back, neck and scalp.
Follow the ‘Ugly Duckling’ rule. The idea behind the Ugly Duckling rule is that you compare your moles with each other. If any mole stands out or looks different from that of nearby moles, it is the ugly duckling, and we advise you contact a doctor to get an expert opinion.
What else to look for:
New spot or an existing spot, freckle or mole that has changed in colour, shape or size spots that bleed or are itchy.
Spots that become raised quickly and catch on clothing.
The colouring of the problem spot may be multi-coloured, white or the same colour as your skin.
Melanoma spots can develop over various time periods.
A type of melanoma called ‘nodular melanoma, which grows rapidly and is found on the head and neck and in older people, particularly men. They are raised, firm and often uniform in colour.
When in doubt head straight to your doctor or a specialist.