No one wants to be caught out with a skin cancer that is sitting on our skin undiagnosed, untreated and slowly growing bigger.
Is skin cancer common and who is at risk?
In Singapore, skin cancer is the 6th most common cancer. The incidence is increasing throughout the world and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1 in every 3 cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer. The statistics is even more worrying in fair skinned individuals who get a lot of sun exposure. The Cancer Council Australia states that 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. In sunny Singapore where we have year round sunshine, the importance of sun protection and skin checks by a professional cannot be over-emphasised.
High risk individuals are those with fair skin that burns easily, or who have had too many memories of treating sore and peeling faces and backs from previous sunburns. If you have a family member who has already been diagnosed with skin cancer, it should set off alarm bells to get your own skin checked. Individuals born with a lot of moles or who suffer from conditions that suppress their immune system should also fast track to the dermatologist for regular checks.
So what are the 5 signs to look out for? Remember the ABCDE of mole surveillance.
The truth is, skin cancer can occur anywhere and in anyone. They often cause no discomfort and may appear in any shape, form or colour. The same skin cancer in Caucasians and Asians can look completely different and easily missed by an untrained eye.
Make time to have a good look at your skin and monitor for any new or changing lesions. Take photos to monitor the changes. If you are worried about any skin growth, speed dial your dermatologist’s office now! Good news is most skin cancers can be cured if caught early!