No matter where in Australia you’ve grown up, it’s likely that your childhood – and even adulthood – was filled with sunny days, running around outside, without a hat, a shirt or sunscreen. They were the golden days, but now we’re being punished in one of the cruelest ways.
Research from the Cancer Council Queensland, the most skin cancer prone state in Australia, has identified that one age group of Australians are at higher risk of melanoma than any other. If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re in it! It’s the age 60-64 year old, with just over one melanoma case being diagnosed every day in this age bracket.
Earlier this year, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration announced it approved the breakthrough melanoma drug, Keytruda – a drug with a 74 per cent survival rate after one year of use compared with the 58 per cent survival rate of existing drugs. Melanoma medication was last night officially added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme giving people easier access to it.
You can never be too proactive when it comes to your health and as we get older – especially if we’re in the high risk age bracket, it’s important to conduct self checks and know what to do if we find something unusual.
According to the Cancer Council Queensland, there are a variety of things to look for when you conduct a self-check. These things include:
- New moles;
- Moles that increases in size;
- An outline of a mole that becomes notched;
- A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied;
- A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it;
- The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated;
- Moles that itch or tingle;
- Moles that bleed or weep; or
- Spots that look different from the others
You should check everywhere over your body, but hands, arms, shoulders and the face are particularly common areas. And if you find anything you’re concerned or worried about, it’s important to book in and see your GP right away.
Tell us, have you had troubles with skin cancer before? Have you had any spots removed or undergone treatment for it? Share your own stories with us in the comments below…