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Molescreen PDT specialises in diagnosing and treating skin cancer and sunspots. Queensland is the skin cancer capital
of the world. Most people who have been raised in Queensland will have some form of skin cancer during their lives.

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Clarifying Some Issues

  • It is not safe to shave or partially remove a mole because the part being removed may be normal, missing the melanoma component
  • Additionally, the residue of the mole can still evolve into a melanoma and this would be difficult to assess in the future because of scar tissue.
  • Cosmetic mole removal by shaving is unsafe for exactly the same reasons
  • Putting sunscreen on a mole will not stop it becoming a melanoma
  • We should all use sunscreen with a minimum SPF value of 50+ but you also need to take other precautions and limit your exposure
  • Melanoma can occur on any part of the body, even those areas that are not normally exposed to the sun
  • You can still get a tan if you use sunscreen because sunscreens predominately screen out UVB radiation. Significant amounts of UVA, (responsible for your tan as well as skin cancer and ageing), still pass through sunscreen.
  • Melanomas are caused by the expression of a combination of genes
  • Melanoma genes are turned on by sunburn usually in the first twenty years of life, particularly blistering sunburn and the resulting melanoma may appear anywhere on the body at any time in the future, often many years later
  • Another form of melanoma which is becoming more common occurs on skin which has been exposed to high levels of sun over many years and is particularly common on the face called lentigo maligna
  • There are other triggers of melanoma including arsenic exposure, radiation and drugs taken to suppress the immune system; these are commonly used in the treatment of cancer (chemotherapy) and in some auto immune conditions. If these drugs have been used then regular skin examinations are required.
  • Not all melanomas are brown or black, some are skin coloured, pink or red, some are grey
  • Most melanomas occur in moles that are recently new, fewer develop in moles that have been present for some time
  • Most melanomas appear in people over the age of 50 but sometimes teenagers get melanoma
  • Men are slightly more likely to get a melanoma than women
  • Men mostly get melanomas on their back
  • Women mostly get melanoma on their legs or forearms
  • It is unlikely that melanoma will appear before puberty
  • Most melanomas take some time to develop so annual skin checks in low risk individuals are fine provided that the person is vigilant and keeps an eye out for moles that change in any way and reports them early
  • Very, very occasionally a melanoma will appear, grow quickly and spread within a few months so it is essential that we report any new lesion
  • A melanoma may have hair growing in it
  • Solariums are now banned in Queensland but previous use is a significant risk factor for melanoma
  • There is a SunSmart App for mobile devices produced by the Victorian Cancer Council that helps with education and gives daily sun protection times based on the UV index and location http://www.sunsmart.com.au/about/history
  • You can still get sunburnt with cloud cover
  • You can get sunburnt sitting in shade from reflected light
  • Non-melanoma can still kill although it is less likely to
  • If a pimple lasts for a month it is not a pimple and needs to be assessed. It could be a melanoma
  • New moles are very uncommon over the age of 50 and melanoma needs to be excluded as a diagnosis