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Melanoma

Melanoma is a cancer that affects melanocytes, the cells that give your skin its pigment.

More than 90% of melanoma cases can be successfully treated if detected early, one of the best rates across all types of cancer. However, it remains Australia’s 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer, with Central Queenslanders’ having higher rates of Melanoma diagnosis than the rest of the state and country.

As soon as you notice any changes to an existing mole or freckle or develop any new ones - this is the time to see your GP for a check-up.

Sunburn causes 95% of melanomas and childhood sunburn can make you twice as likely to develop melanoma as an adult.

Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap -A tan is a sign of damage from the sun, not a healthy glow.

Is this spot on my skin melanoma?

Please get checked and visit your

  • GP
  • Skin clinic
  • Dermatologist

Am I at risk of melanoma?

Melanoma risk is increased for people who have:

  • unprotected UV radiation exposure
  • a history of childhood tanning and sunburn
  • a pattern of short, intense periods of exposure to UV radiation
  • having a lot of moles– more than 50 on the body and more than 10 above the elbows on the arms
  • increased numbers of unusual moles
  • depressed immune systems
  • a family history of melanoma in a first degree relative
  • fair skin, a tendency to burn rather than tan, freckles, light eye colour (blue or green), light or red hair colour
  • had a previous melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer.

How do I get tested?

Physical examination.

A: Asymmetry – is it irregular or different looking eg/ much wider at one end

B: Border – is the edge uneven?

C: Colour – Any Black or Red areas would warrant further investigation

D: Diameter – Is it over 6mm wide at any point?

E: Evolving – is it changing and growing? They may ask if you have noticed any changes or compare it to any previous pictures.

Biopsy – part of or the whole of the spot

I have melanoma – what is next?

Your GP will refer you to a specialist who will discuss further investigations and treatment options with you.

  • Surgery
  • CT/ PET
  • Oncologist
  • Radiation oncologist
Last updated: 3 June 2021