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Skin Cancer warning

An article warning everyone about skin cancers.

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Second the motion. Everybody needs a regular inspection.

Particularly if you spent your youth on the beach or have (had) an outdoor job, including as a driver, get a full body inspection every year.

Little problems can be removed before they become big problems. Big problems can remove you.

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I was one never to have sun-baked regularly, yet I developed a lump on my ear lobe. Over the years my GP kept reassuring me it was only a lipoma (fatty lump) and it never changed in size nor texture nor colour. Finally, approximately 20 years later I insisted on a biopsy. The result was a ‘pre-cancer’. Removed that day!

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I had a mole on my stomach that I was born with - the only mole on my whole body! I had never really sunbaked and am more of a bookworm than a sun lover. When I was 37 a girl I worked with had a melanoma scare so I went and had a skin check. I was told everything was fine. When I was 41 I was only a couple of months away from getting married and every now and then the mole on my stomach would get itchy. I put off doing anything about it as I was busy with wedding prep. Approx 6 months after I got married I booked in for another skin check. The doctor started at my feet but I mentioned that the mole on my stomach was the one I was worried about. As soon as she saw it she said that she wanted to take a biopsy straight away and cut it out, she didn’t even finish checking the rest of me. That was a Friday afternoon. First thing Monday morning I received a phone call asking me if I could make it to her office that day - of course I did. It turned out the mole was a Melanoma. Luckily I had private health insurance as the doctor faxed off the paperwork to the specialist and the next morning I received a call from his office for an appointment the next day (Wednesday). He sent me straight for a blood test and CT scan and booked me in for surgery and a PET scan on the Friday. I had the operation to remove all of the melanoma along with a lymph node biopsy (to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread) and then had an anxious wait until the following Wednesday. Luckily my results came back clear, the cancer hadn’t spread, but the specialist said that if the mole had of been 1/2 mm deeper “we would be having a different conversation” (i.e. get your affairs in order!). Afterwards I had to have skin checks every 3 months for the first 18 months, and now it is every 6 months for the rest of my life. Unfortunately Melanoma is something that hangs over your head for the rest of your life as it can come back any time, anywhere and in any form (it could be the same spot or it could be in my lungs, my eyes or even my foot). It was a real wake up call. My biggest suggestion for people is to go to a Skin Cancer Clinic for a check rather than your GP. My friend and I were both told by a number of GP’s that our moles were fine but it was the clinics that picked up on the problems.

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Thanks for sharing this story @deonne_corney, and glad that you came through it okay. Hopefully it provides some encouragement for everyone to make time for a check-up.

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Coming into summer (in reality it should happen all year around in Australia), it is also a reminder to

Be Sun Safe

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As the ad for Cancer Council says:
“There is no such thing as a safe tan”.

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Wonderful news. Now, how many Bulk-Billing doctors will have one or will it only be available for the wealthy? Medicare subsidy eventually?

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An article regarding a new smartphone app to check skin cancers.

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An article regarding researchers at UQ disconering that the common cold virus can treat BCC skin cancers.

A great news article regarding a new treatment for skin cancers.

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And some advice from Paul Vautin.

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