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We should all know the importance of keeping an eye on our skin for any suspicious growths or changes in moles. Most of us do this ourselves and with the help of our family and friends.
But not everyone knows what they are looking for and, as a Norwich-based dermatologist explains, leaving it until changes are visible to the eye may be too late. Early detection saves lives and every year in East Anglia alone some 5500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer.
With 15 years’ experience in the NHS, Dr Deepak Rallan – who is based at Hethersett – says he has seen a large increase in skin cancer in the UK. “The one thing we have noticed is that a lot of people tend to go to their GP or ask their family and friends for their help in monitoring changes in their moles, so we know that the message is starting to get across to people. But what is not that widespread and which we seem to be behind with in the UK is a way of monitoring any changes much earlier.
“Dermoscopy uses special polarised light to look under the skin, to spot changes under the surface. Skin cancer in these early stages is completely curable, but the issue is catching it at that stage when it is still early enough.”
To that end, Dr Rallan has launched the Diamond Mole Safe scheme, through his skilled dermatology service Diamond Skin Care, which has clinics at East Point Consulting Rooms in Great Yarmouth and The Global Clinic at Colney Hall in Norwich.
He explains that Diamond Mole Safe uses serial digital dermoscopy to look beneath the surface and catch any changes the eye misses over time. These are photographed and monitored again every four months for any changes that have developed. Same day treatment is available if needed too.
For more information contact 01603 813906: www.diamondskincare.co.uk/molesafe.
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There is no such thing as “a healthy tan”.
Cut down on the time you spend in the sun, especially between 10am and 2pm.
Put on sunscreen a quarter of an hour before you go out in the sun, and reapply regularly.
If you’ll be out in the sun all day, cover up with loose, long sleeved clothes and wear a hat.
Choose sunglasses with 99 or 100pc UV protection.
ABCD of moles
Malignant melanoma accounts for three-quarters of skin cancer deaths and may develop in an existing mole or on a previously normal area of skin. Doctors use the ABCD code for checking changes in moles that could be a cause for concern. Look for:
Border (ragged or blurred)
Colour (varied, blak, not uniform)
Diameter (larger than 6mm)
If you spot these changes, get your mole assessed as soon as possible.