Skin Cancer

Did you know?

  • Skin cancers (including melanoma) are the most common cancers affecting both women and men in Western Australia.
  • In 2014, 774 Western Australian men and 530 Western Australian women were diagnosed with melanoma¹.
  • The majority (55-70%) of melanomas are detected by patients themselves, or their partners² ³ ⁴.

Common symptoms of skin cancer include:

  • A spot that is different from other spots on your skin
  • Changes in a spot, mole or freckle on your skin
  • Any crusty or non-healing sores
  • New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months.

Get to know your skin and what’s normal for you, particularly if you’re over 40 years of age. If you notice any of these symptoms or any other unusual changes tell your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker. It doesn’t mean you’ve got skin cancer – often they turn out to be something less serious. But it’s important to get checked.

If it is skin cancer, the earlier it’s found, the greater the chance of successful treatment.

How to check your own skin

Visit the MyUV website to learn how to complete a simple 15 minute skin check at home.

Reduce your risk

While there are some risk factors we have no control over, like our skin type and our past skin exposure, there are steps we can take to protect ourselves from the sun. Visit the skin cancer page on the Cancer Council WA website for more information.

¹ Threlfall TJ, Thompson JR (2015). Cancer incidence and mortality in Western Australia, 2014. Department of Health, Western Australia, Perth. Statistical Series Number 103.

² Richard MA, Grob JJ, Avril MF, Delaunay M, Gouvernet J, Wolkenstein P, et al. Delays in diagnosis and melanoma prognosis (II): the role of doctors. Int J Cancer 2000 May 20;89(3):280-5 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10861505.

³ McPherson M, Elwood M, English DR, Baade PD, Youl PH, Aitken JF. Presentation and detection of invasive melanoma in a high-risk population.J Am Acad Dermatol 2006 May;54(5):783-92 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16635658.

⁴ Epstein DS, Lange JR, Gruber SB, Mofid M, Koch SE. Is physician detection associated with thinner melanomas?JAMA 1999 Feb 17;281(7):640-3 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10029126.