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Call for more skin cancer checks

Call for more skin cancer checks
Photo: Call for more skin cancer checks
World-leading dermatologists say there needs to be even greater awareness of skin checks for changes that could be cancerous.

More must be done to encourage people to check their skin for changes which could be cancerous, leading doctors say.

Most campaigns about skin cancer encourage people to stay safe in the sun but efforts should also be made to raise awareness about detecting changes, the British Association of Dermatologists said.

People should be encouraged to check their skin and report anything suspicious to their GP sooner rather than later.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and is "relatively unique" in that is is highly visible, allowing people to monitor their skin for changes themselves, the dermatologists said.

The push comes as two studies, published at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh, reinforced the need to raise awareness of detection.

The first, by experts at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, found that 40 per cent of 92 melanoma patients noticed a change in their skin at least four months before seeking advice from a medical professional.

The second, which examined 1,700 patients treated at Guy's and St Thomas' in Hospitals in London between 1999 and 2012, identified an increase in incidence in melanoma over the study period as well as a rise in the average depth of the cancer.

Melanoma tumours grow in thickness the longer they are left untreated.

Copyright AAP 2014

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