Research across most advanced nations produces similar results, almost 90% of people are now aware that changes in moles, or other sudden differences in their skin could be signs of skin cancer.
Despite this, more than half fail to seek immediate professional support, delaying visits for a number of months. The reason for Melanoma UK’s “ask your doctor” campaign.
We understand the human reasons for this, not acknowledging a fearful threat is in a sense natural but the instinct needs to be overcome quickly. The practical outcome of not doing so is well documented:
With modern techniques, even the most dangerous form of skin cancer, melanoma, can be cured almost all the time if caught early. Left to develop to later stages, you could reduce your survival chances from 100% to less than 20%.
Watching The Signs
Changes in the shape, colour, or size of moles can be a significant factor. Still worth considering that more skin cancers arise from new than existing moles, especially when they suddenly appear in adulthood.
Whilst we can all have temporary skin issues, from spots, to rashes, lesions which don’t heal fairly quickly deserve note. Anything which is scaly, raised, bleeding, an odd colour, or growing could be a sign of non melanoma skin cancer.
Getting them checked has no downsides and you will definitely not be wasting anyone’s time. Medical professionals welcome a benign diagnosis, or they could be other skin conditions which will benefit from treatment.
All we ask is that you check your skin and in effect, listen to your body, nature’s signs really do occur for a reason.
Finding Medical Support
In an ideal world, you will be able to access the skills of a consultant dermatologist without delay. This is a sound path to skills and specialist equipment, although wherever you are, medical advice makes sense.
Even if a nearby doctor is not sure, they can hopefully refer you to a dedicated service. Following this route is much better than not seeking support.
Doctors should also understand that alongside physical treatment, we all need psychological support on skin issues. They are personal, can be frightening and avoiding dealing with them is understandable.
Please make the effort not to put the signs you see out of mind. At any reasonably early stage, skin cancer treatment is effective, the best approach to a threat.