How to check your skin for signs of skin cancer

Posted: Dec 14 2020

Did you know that skin cancers rarely hurt? They are more likely to be seen than felt. That’s why it’s important to check your skin regularly for any new spots or changes to existing freckles or moles. Diem Tran from Cancer Council SA explains how to check your skin for signs of skin cancer, and what to look for.

How to check your own skin

  1. Make sure you check your entire body as skin cancers can sometimes occur on parts of the body that aren’t exposed to the sun, like on the soles of your feet, between fingers and toes or under nails.
  2. Undress completely and make sure you have good light.
  3. Use a mirror to check hard to see spots, like your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check it for you.

What to look for

Following the ABCDE guide can help detect early signs of melanoma on the skin, but don’t forget to also look out for dry, scaly spots that might be itchy or ulcerate which are indicators of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Asymmetry – The spot/lesion is halved and the two halves are not mirroring each other.

Border – Spots with edges that are spreading or jagged

Colour – Different colours throughout the spot

Diameter – Look for spots that are getting bigger

Evolving – Spots that are changing in colour or shape or growing

Should you get your skin professionally checked regularly?

If you notice any new spots or existing spots that are changing in colour, shape or size, see your GP as soon as possible. Your GP will be able to diagnose, treat or refer you to a specialist.

How can you prevent skin cancer?

Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide! By following these steps you’ll give your skin the best chance of being protected.

  • Slip on clothing to cover up as much of your skin as possible
  • Slop on some sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
  • Slap on a hat that protects your whole face, ears and neck
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on your sunnies

For more information head to

Health Partners members with Extras cover receive 20% off sun protection products at 50+ participating pharmacies in SA.

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Posted: Dec 14 2020


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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