DEADLY: Getting your skin checked may well save your life.
DEADLY: Getting your skin checked may well save your life. Contributed

Check your skin while the sun shines

SUMMER has struck and the rush to get the perfect tan will overshadow the very real danger of skin cancer. So before you hit the beach, take a moment to see why it's important to check out your skin.

What's the issue?

  • Summer is coming, and Aussies love the sun
  • But exposure to the sun and UV rays can cause skin cancer, which can be fatal
  • Look out for the signs of skin cancer, and get it checked if you notice any changes to your skin
  • Check yourself regularly, and check each other for symptoms
  • Don't forget to check body parts that aren't exposed to the sun - soles of feel, palms of hands, between toes, behind ears etc

Why is this an issue now?

  • Summer is on its way
  • The sun is coming out after a dark cold winter
  • We're excited!
  • As a nation, we love outdoor sports, the beach and being in the sunshine, and that's what we'll all be doing for months, starting very soon
  • Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world
  • UV radiation peaks in summer, and that's what causes skin cancer
  • Early detection can save lives, so if you notice any of these symptoms, go and see your doctor immediately


  • Use the Cancer Council of Australia's ABCD melanoma detection guide:
  • A - Asymmetry - look out for spots which are not symmetrical
  • B - Border - look out for spots which seem to be spreading or which have irregular edges
  • C - Colour - Look out for spots which are blotchy with lots of different colours in them or which get darker
  • D - Diameter - Look out for spots which are growing
  • It can be hard to tell, so see a doctor
  • Also, look out for new moles, a spot or mole that becomes raised or lumpy, or rough, scaly or starts to bleed or itch, or just which looks different from your other moles - those are symptoms which should not be ignored

For whom is it an issue?

  • Everyone!
  • Especially those with fair skin, people who work outdoors or play outdoor sports, those who have had sunburn, people with family histories of skin cancer and those who have had skin cancers previously. 
  • An as you get older, the chances of getting skin cancer increase
  • Even dark skinned people are at risk

What's the possible solution?

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on factor 30+ sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Seek shade or shelter
  • Slide on your shades
  • Stay hydrated
  • Limit the time you spend in the sun
  • Avoid sun exposure after 10am and before 4pm, when the sun is at its strongest
  • Have regular skin checks
  • If you're at all concerned about any changes in your skin, get it checked immediately

What action needs to be taken and when?

  • As above
  • Visit your local SunDoctors clinic for a skin check now
  • Always keep an eye out for changes to your skin, especially changes in the shapes, sizes and colours of moles
  • Check your family's skin
  • If you're at all concerned about anything on your skin, get it checked out straight away

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