How to check for skin cancer

Life on the farm means spending a lot of time outdoors, where we are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This means that as farmers, we need to be extra careful about regularly checking for any signs of skin cancer.

Catching skin cancer early can be the difference between life and death. Here are some tips from Cancer Council NSW on how you can check for skin cancer:

  • Become familiar with your skin, take note of any moles or irregularities.
  • When checking your skin, make sure you check everywhere, not just the parts that are usually exposed to the sun.
  • Look for changes in shape, size and colour or any new spots.
  • Ask family or friends for help with difficult to see areas such as your back.

To help you know what’s normal and what’s not, use the SunSmart ABCD guide when checking your skin:

  • A = Asymmetry, look for spots that are asymmetrical (one half of the spot doesn’t match the other).
  • B = Border, look for spots with uneven borders. Melanoma is often flat with an uneven, smudgy outline .
  • C = Colour, look for spots with an unusual or uneven colour. May be blotchy and more than one colour – brown, black, blue, grey or red.
  • D = Diameter, look for spots that are larger than 7mm.

Most importantly, if you see anything unusual, book an appointment with your GP.

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