May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Michele writes about her experience with the disease, what she learned and how to spot it early.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and it is something I am acutely aware of, as I was diagnosed with it some years ago. Thankfully I was fortunate enough to receive prompt and successful treatment, but the experience did leave me with a heightened awareness and appreciation of the dangers of the disease.
There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Of the two, melanoma is the most dangerous. People often don’t take it too seriously because it appears new or develops from an existing mole or freckle. It might look harmless, but melanoma can quickly develop. It can become life-threatening in as little as six weeks and, if untreated, can spread fatally to other parts of the body.
I was living in Hong Kong when I developed my skin cancer. I was extremely fortunate that my doctor had previously worked in Australia, which has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Australian doctors are trained to watch out for it, enabling him to spot the cancer very early. This ensured that I received treatment promptly. He warned that many other local doctors would have missed it because they are not familiar with the signs. Missing them could have caused complications or even proved fatal.
This is the main message I want to pass on from my personal experience because; like Hong Kong; many doctors in the Middle East may not be overly familiar with; or be looking out for the symptoms. I would urge everyone to be aware of the signs of skin cancer and check their skin regularly. I have included a very useful graphic guide below from miiskin.com.
Identifying early symptoms is the key to successful treatment, so be aware of skin cancer during Skin Cancer Awareness month and every month.
Stay safe and well.