How to self-check your skin?
Dr Chagan says self-checking is best done in a well-lit room and in front of a full-length mirror so you can check your whole body (including the areas where sun exposure isn’t direct).
"Using a handheld mirror will help you with the areas of your body that are hard to see. A family member, partner or friend may be able to help you with these checks as well,” she explains.
The Cancer Council of Australia advises a thorough self-examination of your skin every three months, or if you’ve had skin cancer removed or are at higher risk, a full skin examination every six months.
When should I get a professional check?
Professional skin checks and mole maps are often the most thorough means to check for skin cancers.
During a professional examination, your GP or dermatologist uses a dermatoscope to examine your skin – allowing for a closer look at any suspicious spots than is possible with the naked eye.
However, Dr Chagan explains that if you haven’t had skin cancer before or aren’t at any considerable risk of developing skin cancer, you can and should self-check at home safely initially.
"Put yourself in the best position to notice changes, and as soon as you see something out of the ordinary, get a professional skin check," Dr Chagan advises.
Does it cost a lot to get a professional check?
"The good news is that those who are covered by Medicare will receive a rebate that covers a considerable portion of this, and sometimes the whole amount if the practice bulk bills (doesn’t charge a gap fee),” Dr Chagan says.
Many GPs can also perform skin checks and may bulk bill depending on the doctor and individual circumstances.
Want to find out more and book a skin check with you local GP? Head to TAL