New research shows melanomas are more likely to be detected early by married couples, as partners keep a watch on skin spot changes.
The international study of 52,000 people, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed those who were married went to the doctor with less advanced melanomas. Skin cancers that are found and treated early need less invasive treatment and have a better outcome.
While it's not surprising news, it does highlight the importance of doing our own regular checking for skin cancer and not just leaving it to the annual check-up with the doctor.
Not only are our loved ones more likely to keep an eye on our bodies and encourage going to the doctor quickly when something's not right, but they can see those hard to check places like your neck, back, behind the ears or soles of the feet yourself. Getting some help makes skin checks more effective!
With a bit of practice, most people can check their whole body in 15 minutes
You will need to undress completely and use a well-lit room. Check out our step by step guide to checking your skin.
A squamous or basal cell carcinoma is likely to develop on skin most often exposed to the sun, but a melanoma can develop anywhere, so check your whole body.
What to do if you spot something?
Contact your GP as soon as possible if you see anything on your skin that:
- has changed in size, shape or colour
- has not healed within three weeks (such as an inflamed sore)
- itches or bleeds
- you do not think was there before
- looks different to other spots around it
How often should you check?
The change of the seasons is a great regular reminder to do a good check. Set a recurring alert in your phone, or pop it in your diary as an appointment so you don't forget.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure!
Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide whenever the UV is above 3. Head to www.myuv.com.au to check the live UV for your location, and/or download our free SunSmart app that can send you alerts each morning reminding you what times you need to be SunSmart.