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Brian asked...

Is there a skin screening procedure?

Tags: cancer , skin

Hello Having lived the most part in the tropics and the fact that my father died of Melanoma cancer, is there a skin screening procedure I could undertake on a yearly basis? My brother lives in NZ and he undergoes yearly skin checks, I appreciate that their ozone is somewhat depleted which is why they are very keen on having it done.

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The answer

I was sorry to read of your father’s passing to Malignant Melanoma and understand your request for information regarding screening of your own skin, having lived in the tropics for some time.

Screening for any type of cancer involves looking for early signs of the disease in otherwise healthy individuals, without any symptoms. This can be an expensive process and, as malignant melanoma is rare, unlike non malignant melanoma, and there is currently no routine screening programme available to individuals living in the UK.  However, it is important that people know the signs of melanoma and attend their GP at the earliest opportunity should symptoms arise.

The following lists signs and symptoms of a mole that may cause concern and require immediate investigation by a specialist:

• Getting bigger
• Changing shape, particularly getting an irregular edge
• Changing colour – getting darker, becoming patchy or multi shaded
• Loss of symmetry – the two halves of your mole do not look the same
• Itching or painful
• Bleeding or becoming crusty
• Looking inflamed

By identifying suspicious moles early, arrangements can be made to remove the mole(s), thus preventing invasive malignant melanoma developing.

Further information can be found at cancerresearchuk.org

 

 

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses

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