Self-check to catch skin cancer before it spreads

Posted 14 Mar 2016.

A revealing new website by Cancer Council WA is putting skin cancer self-checks at the front of mind.

The ‘Is it? Isn't It?' website is aimed at educating people on the importance of detecting potential skin cancers by thoroughly checking their own skin on a regular basis.

With 95% of skin cancers being treatable if caught early, Cancer Council WA hopes people will be more aware of changes to their skin and act quickly before it's too late.

Nova Vendt knows all too well the importance of skin self-checks after being diagnosed with early-stage melanoma two years ago.
"Because the melanoma was found early it hadn't spread to other parts of my body," she said.

"It could have been a very different story if it had not been picked up by the doctor."

The melanoma itself was located on her thigh - an area typically well hidden from the sun under clothing. She was surprised to hear that skin cancers can grow anywhere on your body, including the bottom of feet and under finger and toe nails.

"I originally dismissed the mark as an age spot because it was in an area that received hardly any sun, but now I know skin cancers can pop up anywhere so I check everywhere regularly," she said.

Mark Strickland, Cancer Council WA's SunSmart Manager, echoed Nova's words by saying it was important to know your own skin to catch any potential issues early.

"With around 200 deaths from skin cancer in WA each year, we should all be taking this issue seriously," he said.

"Skin cancers spread quickly and can develop in areas of the body that aren't normally exposed to the sun, so checking your whole body regularly will help you notice any changes early.

"Check your whole face, scalp, neck, ears, torso, hands and fingers, arms, buttocks, legs and feet at least every three months, especially if you're over 40."

The ‘Is it? Isn't it?' website provides nine easy steps to check your whole body in around fifteen minutes. It also shows images of what to look out for, including melanoma and other skin cancers.

Mr Strickland recommended contacting your GP straight away if you notice anything different about your skin.

"Any blemish that has changed in size, shape or colour, itches or bleeds, looks different to other spots around it, hasn't healed within three weeks, or wasn't there before should be looked at by your doctor," he said.

See how easy it is to check your skin by visiting the ‘Is It? Isn't It?' website at

Found in:  News - 2016 | View all news