“Checking your skin for skin cancer only requires your eyes and a mirror. Involving a partner adds another set of eyes, which is especially helpful when checking the back and other hard-to-see areas,” said Thomas E. Rohrer, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Chestnut Hill, Mass. “Examining your skin only takes a few minutes, but it could save your life.”
When examining the skin, look for the ABCDEs of Melanoma and make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist if any moles exhibit these signs:
A – Asymmetry: One half of the spot is unlike the other half.
B – Border: The spot has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
C – Color: The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown, or black, or with areas of white, red or blue.
D – Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm, or about the size of a pencil eraser when they are diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E – Evolving: A mole or spot on your skin that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
Indoor tanning increases the risks of developing non-melanoma skin cancer (known as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma), particularly among those exposed before the age of 25, finds a study published on bmj.com today.
It follows a BMJ study published in July that showed 3,438 (5.4%) new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year in Western Europe are related to sunbed use, particularly among young adults.
Some experts are now calling for Europe to follow the example of the United States by introducing a "tan tax" on indoor tanning salons.
The researchers, led by Professor Eleni Linos at the University of California San Francisco, estimate that indoor tanning may account for over 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the US alone.
Cases of non-melanoma skin cancer have increased dramatically over the last few decades. Although not as lethal as melanoma, they affect a vast number of people worldwide and are a substantial financial burden to healthcare systems. Several studies have examined the link between non-melanoma skin cancer and indoor tanning, but have yielded varied results.
So Professor Linos and her team set out to review the evidence. They analysed the results of 12 studies involving 9,328 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer (7,645 basal cell carcinomas and 1,683 squamous cell carcinomas).
Indoor tanning beds will be banned in South Australia because they increase the risk of melanoma by 20 per cent.
Tanning beds in solariums will be banned in South Australia from 2015 because of health concerns.
The ban will bring SA into line with NSW which will ban the beds from the same date.
"There is strong evidence that using sun beds increases the risk of health impacts on users including the occurrence of melanomas," SA Health Minister John Hill said.
The minister said research published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year found the risk of cutaneous melanoma was increased by 20 per cent for people who used indoor tanning devices with artificial ultraviolet light.
The risk of melanoma was doubled when use started before the age of 35.
The government said it would work with the operators of tanning salons on ways to adapt their businesses to survive.
Thursday's announcement was welcomed by the SA Cancer Council, with chief executive Brenda Wilson saying many lives would be saved.
"We applaud the government for taking such a strong stance," Professor Wilson said.