Ideally, you should schedule skin checks with your doctor on a regular basis. Talk with your primary doctor or general physician about how often you should get checked, and then make sure to follow through with that schedule. Wondering why checks are important? Here are the reasons you should get checked.
1. Australia Has the World's Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
Approximately 66% of Australian residents will have some type of skin cancer at some point in their lives before the age of 70. That means you are more likely to get skin cancer than to avoid it. Unfortunately, this country has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, due in part to its location near the equator and in part to the fact that outdoor activities are a big part of the nation's culture.
2. Survival Rates Increase With Early Detection
Because skin cancer rates are so high, some people may think they shouldn't even bother getting a skin check. Well, if you want to survive, a skin check can be essential. The earlier you catch skin cancer, the better. In fact, if you have melanoma in any stage removed within 90 days, your chances of survival are higher than if you wait more than 90 days. Additionally, with stage 1 melanoma, your odds of survival increase if you can get surgery within 30 days.
3. You Can't Notice Everything on Your Own
To be on the safe side, you should check your skin for moles on a regular basis, and you should watch your moles for changes. In particular, if you see asymmetry, an irregular border around the mole or odd patches of coloring, you may have an issue, and you should follow up with your doctor. However, you can't check everything on your own. There are moles you may not be able to see on your back, and sometimes, even if you check regularly, you may overlook certain changes, especially if they happen gradually over time. In contrast, a doctor has training that allows them to notice problematic skin issues.
4. You Have a Family History of Skin Cancer
Although many cases of skin cancer are caused by environment, there is a genetic component to skin cancer. Over 100 tumors that present on the skin have inherited components. If you have relatives who have suffered from skin cancer, you should be even more diligent about getting skin checks on a regular basis. Also, make sure that your doctor knows your history.