Australia has the highest rate of skin cancers in the world, commonly caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight. Of all the cancers, melanoma is the most dangerous and 19th most commonly occurring cancer in both men and women.
Australia had the highest rate of melanoma in 2018. It has a high death rate and spreads more quickly than other types of skin cancer; thus, catching it early on is key to successful treatment. So, are you still thinking, do I need to see a skin cancer specialist?
If you have reason to imagine you might have melanoma, don’t brush it off or wait for symptoms to appear – get yourself to a specialist as soon as possible.
Every day you wait makes it harder to catch. If you spot any of these five signals, don’t hesitate – get yourself checked out by a dermatologist immediately.
5 Signals That You Need Urgently to Visit a Skin Cancer Specialist
1. A Changing Mole
Moles are the most common form of melanoma. If you notice something different about one of your moles – it starts to grow, change shape or colour, itch, bleed, ooze fluid, crust over, or it just doesn’t look right, see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
2. A Bump
Any bump that appears on the skin, even if it doesn’t itch or hurt, requires further investigation. Even a tiny raised spot can be severe, and melanoma is one of the worst things you can find. It’s got a high death rate and spreads more quickly than other types of skin cancer.
It can result in surgery, radiation, or removal of lymph nodes if the cancer is detected early enough. It may be suitable if you think, do I need to see a skin cancer specialist?
3. A New Birthmark
Every year in Australia, around 100,000 people are born with a birthmark. It’s less common for birthmarks to change rapidly but see a dermatologist as soon as possible if this happens. It can be a sign of melanoma, which is always treatable if caught early.
Changes in birthmarks can be seen like:
- Getting bigger
- Changing shape
- Developing a lump, discolouration or crustiness
If you find any of these symptoms, get yourself to a dermatologist as soon as possible.
4. An Irregular Border
If you notice that your mole’s edge is becoming irregular, see a dermatologist. It can be an early sign of melanoma, and catching it early makes treatment much more successful.
Irregular borders often accompany other melanoma symptoms like:
- Changes in size, shape or colour
- Piercing pain when touched
- Itching, crusting or bleeding
If you find any skin problems, get yourself to a specialist as soon as possible.
5. Excessive Sun-Sensitivity
Sun sensitivity is not an early sign of melanoma, but it is a clear indication that you need to take extra care. Reports say that having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. If you’re sunburnt easily and quickly, or your skin burns then turns red without burning, check with a skin specialist to be safe.
If your skin suddenly starts to react adversely to sunlight, it could be the first sign of severe damage – melanoma often develops due to sun exposure. If you notice that you’re suddenly getting burns or rashes on your face, in places where you’re constantly exposed to sunlight, or after spending time in the sun, don’t delay—get yourself checked out by a dermatologist right away.
Melanoma is a hazardous form of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes, the cells in the skin, make colour pigmentation, mutate and reproduce uncontrollably.
It’s caused by repeated overexposure to UV radiation or other sources like tanning beds and sunlamps.
If you notice any of these signals, don’t hesitate and get yourself checked out by a skin cancer specialist immediately.