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Skin Institute
November 15, 2015

With one of the highest incidences in the world, Kiwis have a one in 15 chance of developing melanoma in their lifetime, which is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Early detection is very important, and starts with you at home. An unusual mole can be indicative of melanoma or skin cancer.


What are the characteristics of an ‘unusal mole’?

A helpful way to identify the characteristics of unusual moles that may indicate melanomas or other skin cancers, is this: Think of the letters ABCDE:


  • Aysmmetry: Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.
  • Border: Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders.
  • Colour: Look for growths that have many colours or an uneven distribution of colour.
  • Diameter: Look for new growth in a mole larger than 1/4 inch (about 6 millimeters).
  • Evolving: Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows in size or that changes colour or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding.


Why are regular skin checks important?

Regular skin checks allow you to spot the signs of sun damage before they develop into something serious, and can help you achieve a better understanding of what is normal on your skin and what is not. Getting to know your own skin will help you identify any new or changing areas of sun damage. The more regularly you check your skin, the greater the chance of detecting a potentially pre-cancerous area of skin before it has the chance to progress to something more dangerous.

In addition to conducting self-skin checks at the beginning of each season (every four months), you should get a skin check from a skin specialist annually.

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Book a skin cancer consultation

Book a skin cancer consultation with one of our Doctors. You may be after a full body skin cancer assessment, or a consultation for a specific skin cancer concern. Whatever your need, we have Doctors available to help.