It is very difficult to the untrained eye to identify melanomas and skin cancers because they can come in many different shapes and sizes.
As Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. says, "the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma or skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death."
Australians love the great outdoors and our sunny skies make the Australian lifestyle one of the most envied in the world. Notwithstanding, the extensive “Slip Slop Slap” campaign, many Australians are still exposing themselves to the severity and dangers of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
It's essential to check your skin regularly. Early detection of skin cancers is very important, especially for melanoma, as the survival rate is much greater when caught early. Research shows that it can sometimes be as little as a matter of months between when a melanoma is first detected to the point where it metastasises and becomes a lot more difficult to treat.
The earlier a cancerous mole or skin lesion is found, the easier the treatment and the higher the chances of survival. For the untrained eye, it's not easy distinguishing between harmless (also known as benign) moles and those which need further attention.
The ABCD rule has been used by Doctors for more than 25 years to identify suspicious moles. But with the increasing diagnosis of nodular melanomas (about 20% of all cases of melanoma) and smaller melanomas which do not subscribe to the ABCD rule, the EFG rule has been added.