Marley's Health Advice
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Marley's Health Advice

Hey! My name is Marley and this is my health advice blog. Maintaining your health is easy when you are young. However, as you get older, you may develop illnesses and disorders as a result of your lifestyle choices. When I hit the age of 50 years old, I suddenly realised that I had a lot of problems which I had been ignoring for a long time. I decided to visit my doctor and seek help. Over the past year, I have worked closely with my doctor to improve my lifestyle and my health. I hope my blog inspires you to do the same.

Marley's Health Advice

Skin Cancer Warning Signs Dermatologists Look Out For

Grace Henderson

Around 14,320 cases of melanoma were diagnosed in Australia in 2018. As a form of skin cancer that has a high survival rate, melanoma is easy to treat. Other more aggressive forms of skin carcinomas are not. Regardless of which type you want to watch out for, it's worth learning more about the warning signs that are popular amongst dermatologists.

The ABCDE rules

An excellent starting point when examining your skin is to apply the ABCDE rules. In short, they include the following signs:

  • A: Asymmetry of a mole's halves.
  • B: A mole's borders looking ragged, uneven or blurred.
  • C: A mixture of colours throughout the mole.
  • D: Being larger than 6mm in diameter.
  • E: Enlargement over time that suggests growth.

The ABCDE rules aren't the only warning signs to look out for, though.

Watch out for moles that start to itch

The sensations you feel around a potentially cancerous mole can also say a lot. An itching mole is an early warning sign of skin cancer, although you can attribute it to other causes. For example, if you're wearing an item of clothing that regularly aggravates the area, part of your body's inflammatory processes can involve the release of histamines that make you itch. As such, while this is a concern you should raise with a dermatologist, it isn't an absolute sign that something is wrong.

Crusting and bleeding moles

A sign that's harder to dismiss is a mole that starts to crust and bleed without any obvious cause. For example, if you have a mole you know you've recently knocked and damaged and it only crusts and bleeds for a short period of time, you may not need to worry. If the crusting and bleeding happen without an identifiable trigger, though, it's worth speaking to a medical professional. A similar symptom to look out for is the mole becoming scaly and the surrounding area following suit.

Dents in the area

One type of skin cancer arising from the basal layer of your skin can cause the edges of the mole to raise upwards while the middle features a dent. Usually, they appear on areas of the skin that encounter high sun exposure with little protection, such as the bridge of your nose. If you notice such changes, it's always worth discussing screening with your doctor.

If a medical professional agrees there's something worrying about your skin, they can send you for a biopsy. Otherwise, practice good UV protective care to keep your chances of developing cancer low.