A study has revealed that those with a skin-check partner post-melanoma are more likely to find new melanomas quickly.
Having a partner who is trained to spot skin cancers – or what could be a skin cancer – on the areas of your body that you can’t see – means the chances of spotting a suspect mole is much higher. The study assigned almost 500 melanoma patients and their partners to one of two groups: standard care or special training in skin self-examination. Training involved recognising border, colour, and diameter changes of moles.
Out of the group, 66 did in fact go on to develop new melanomas, and 43 of those were spotted by the patient-partner pair who were trained in mole spotting. It’s known that one melanoma means the risk of a second or more is higher, so early detection can save lives.
Melanoma in Australia
In 2016, there are to be an estimated 13,000 or more new melanomas diagnosed in Australia, with the split being more men than women by about 2,000 people. That means men get more melanomas than women in this country. Melanomas account for about 10 per cent of cancer diagnoses in Australia every year, with over 1,700 people dying from this form of cancer.
It is estimated by Australian Government statistics that the chances of each of us being diagnosed with a melanoma by our 85th birthdays is about 1 in 14 for men and 1 in 23 for women, and the older you are, the more your chances increase. Luckily, the chances of living through melanoma (at least five years) are high – 90 per cent.
Catching changing moles early
Melanoma needs to be detected early, so it might pay to consider doing special training with another person – perhaps someone who has had a melanoma – to do a spot of mole-spotting regularly.
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