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HealthInfo Canterbury

Finding and preventing skin cancers

You can do several things to help prevent melanoma and other skin cancers.

Stay sun safe

Keep yourself and your children safe from the sun. This means covering up, including wearing a hat, using sun block and staying out of the sun when possible. See Sun-smart behaviour for advice on how to do that.

Check your skin

Doing regular self skin checks will let you see if there are any changes which may need to be looked at by a doctor.

Skin checks are particularly important if you are over 50, have a family history of skin cancer, or are at higher risk of getting skin cancer.

You should check your skin every 3 months. Melanoma NZ has detailed information on how to do a skin check.

Look for any moles, freckles or spots (lesions) that:

When checking dark spots or moles, you can use the ABCDEs of melanoma as a guide to what to look for.

Photographic skin checks (mole maps)

If you have a higher risk of melanoma, you may consider having a photographic skin check.

This would include people with:

Skin check apps

There are apps available that can help you track your skin and give advice about spots. Read more about them on Health Navigator.

Getting help

If you are concerned about your skin, talk to your GP.

You may also want to consider paying to see a private dermatologist. You can find a private dermatologist on Healthpages or Healthpoint.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Dermatology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed May 2021.

Page reference: 37528

Review key: HIMEL-15455