As summer is nearing an end, you may be noticing spots on your skin that weren’t there at the start of the season. These new formations can cause significant concern; could they be the start of skin cancer? Aussies have good reason to worry – the intense sun exposure can indeed lead to cancer if it is left unchecked, which is why two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with this disease by the time they reach 70 years of age. The good news is a simple skin evaluation by one of our experienced skin doctors can give you peace-of-mind and address any of those suspicious spots, before they become a bigger problem.
Sunspots, as the name suggests, are spots that appear on the skin as a direct result of exposure to UV rays. In addition to the sun, the rays emitted by tanning booths can also lead to the formation of these brown spots. These spots are commonly seen on the face, shoulders, chest and backs of the hands. There is a risk these spots could turn into a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma over time.
While nearly all Aussies will discover at least a few sunspots on their skin over time, not all of these spots will turn into cancer. However, skin cancer can resemble a sunspot when it first forms, making it difficult for you to know which spots are “normal” and which ones you need to worry about. That is why regular skin screenings are so important, particularly when you notice new spots have appeared.
Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer and it frequently develops in moles or sunspots that change over time. When looking for indicators of melanoma, doctors recommend you follow the ABCs:
- Asymmetry: look for moles that are not the same on both sides
- Border: the border of cancerous spots is not usually well-defined
- Colour: malignant sunspots may be very dark or multi-coloured
- Diameter: the larger the spot, the more likely it is to be cancerous
- Evolution: changes to a spot are always a reason for a check by your doctor
Any of these features warrant a call to your doctor as soon as possible for a skin check. It is also a good idea to schedule a check at the end of the summer season to evaluate any new spots that have developed.
Early detection is the key to the most successful treatment options. Main Street Cosmetic and Skin offers surgical excision of malignant moles, taking into account both the ability to fully eliminate the cancer and create the best possible cosmetic outcome for the patient. Most of our patients heal relatively quickly from the procedure and the removed tumour is sent to a laboratory for full examination and to ensure the cancer was completely removed. At this changing of the seasons, now is the perfect time to schedule your skin evaluation to ensure those new sunspots are nothing serious to worry about.
Contact Main Street Cosmetic and Skin on 03 9739 3830 to schedule your skin check today.