When you should get a skin check

Dr Sally Shaw

 

The best criterion is - if it’s changing, get it checked.

If a spot changes in shape, size, colour, or if it starts to itch or bleed and doesn’t heal properly, it should be investigated further. New moles or growths should also be monitored closely.

 

The ABCD rule for skin cancer checks


Melanoma can have any one of the following features:

  • Asymmetry - look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up
  • Border - a spot with a spreading or irregular edge (notched)
  • Colour - blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey
  • Diameter - look for spots that are getting bigger

 

The EFG detection guide


The EFG rule was created to improve detection of nodular melanoma which does not meet the ABCD criteria. These melanomas often begin as a red nodule. While their appearance can be mistaken for a pimple, they are much firmer to touch. Nodular melanoma usually has all three of the following features:

  • Elevated
  • Firm
  • Growing for more than a month