What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer happens when damaged cells, usually from the sun, grow abnormally and too much.

There are three main types of skin cancer:

  • Basal cell
  • Squamous cell
  • Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous of the three types and is the third most common cancer in Australia.

What are my chances of getting skin cancer?

A lot of people get skin cancer in Australia. About 2 out of 3 of us will be diagnosed with it by the time we are 70. This is because skin cancer is caused by our skin being in the sun too much and our country is very sunny.

What are the symptoms?

  • Sores that don’t heal and are crusty
  • Small lumps on the skin that are red or light in colour
  • New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months.

What can I do to prevent it?

Use sunscreen SPF30 or above on your skin every 2 hours. Look for the sunscreen dispensers in your gaol.

Sunscreen is not the only thing you can do to protect your skin from the sun.

It is also good idea to:

  • Wear clothes that cover your skin, and a hat and sunnies if you have them, when you are outside.
  • Stay in the shade as much as you can, especially in the middle of the day.
  • Keep an eye on your skin, especially any changes.

Keep an eye on your skin. If you notice any changes, talk to a nurse at the health centre.

If you find skin cancer early it is much easier to treat.