Tammy sat down with Dr Mathew Power from the Gold Coast Skin Centre. Dr Power diagnosed Tammy’s melanoma back in June.
What are the signs to look out for when it comes to Melanoma?
The ABCDE of melanoma detection can be a useful guide when checking your skin.
A is for Asymmetry: Look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.
B is for Border: A spot with a spreading or irregular edge (notched).
C is for Colour: Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.
D is for Diameter: Look for spots that are getting bigger.
E is for Evolving: Spots that are changing and growing.
If it has your spidey senses tingly, always get a qualified skin doctor to take a look!
Is Melanoma only from the sun?
Mostly, but not always. It's likely that a combination of factors, including environmental and genetic factors, causes melanoma. So basically it’s too much sun exposure, combined with family history.
Do chemicals in sunscreen cause skin cancer?
There is no medical evidence that sunscreen causes cancer, the research just doesn’t suggest that! It's crucial to wear 50+ each day, even in winter.
What happens to a melanoma that goes unchecked?
Great Question! Melanomas are the most sinister skin cancers. They like to move away from where they began. They commonly move to the lymph nodes, lungs, brain etc.
For most melanomas, if you catch them early enough, you don’t need to do anything other than remove them locally with the correct margins. Catching them early is crucial.
When should kids start getting sun checks?
Around early adulthood, but again, always refer to the ABCDE detection rule. Or when your spidey senses are tingling.
If you get a diagnosed with a Melanoma, does that mean no sun forever?
No, but being sun smart is crucial though.
Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses. You need to still be able to enjoy your life, you just need to be smart about it.
How often should I get my skin checked?
From your early adult, you should get your skin checked every 3 years unless dictated otherwise from your skin doctor. Once you are high risk, this will change.
What do the different SPFs mean?
The SPF gives you an idea of how long you can be in the sun before you burn, for instance, if you're super sensitive and you burn in one minute, a SPF 50 will give you 50 minutes before you burn. However, it is recommended you apply sunscreen every 2 hours.