We all know how dangerous skin cancer can be, but it is preventable with proper skin care. Dr Ginny provides six pieces of advice to help you and your family stay safe.

 

1. Why is it so important to get checked for skin cancer?

We all know about how dangerous skin cancer can be. The most serious type of skin cancer is melanoma (cancerous moles). Over 15,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the UK each year and the incidence is still rising. However, if a cancerous mole is cut out early, the chances of survival are very high.

 

2. When should you start getting your skin checked i.e. at what age?

It is never too young to become skin-aware and protect yourself from the sun. Skin cancer is rare in children but relatively common in young adults. It is sensible to start thinking about checking skin from your 20s onwards.

 

3. What is the most important age to check for skin cancer?

There isn’t really one age for this. All adults should be vigilant. Some people are at higher risk of skin cancer, such as those with fair skin that burns easily, people with a history of excessive sun exposure or episodes of sunburn and people with a family history of skin cancer.

 

4. How often should you check your skin?

I usually recommend once every couple of months. This can be done yourself, with the help of a relative or friend if needed.

 

5. Who can check it for you and what’s involved? Can you check your moles yourself and when should you defer to your doctor?

It is a really good idea to check your own skin. I suggest using digital photos and the quality of pictures on many smartphones or tablets is good for this. Use a small ruler or tape measure next to moles for extra vigilance.

 

6. When should you be worried?

Look at all your moles. Do they look the same? Is there an odd one out, or an ‘ugly duckling’? If so, get it looked at by a dermatologist.

When watching your moles from month to month, look out for any change in size, colour (usually getting darker in part or all of the mole) or change in shape. If in doubt, seek the advice of an expert.

If you found this information useful and would like to make an appointment to see Dr Ginny, simply complete this contact form.

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London Bridge Hospital City Clinic, 120 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1AR

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Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW