Most of us can consider ourselves lucky for being able to live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world – the long white cloud, Aotearoa, New Zealand. Our almost untouched natural environment allows us to live lifestyles that people from the rest of the world can only dream of and longingly admire from afar. However, with a love for the great outdoors and sun seeking comes a great risk – the development of various skin issues, or worse, skin cancers.
Skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the country, with more than 45,000 skin cancer cases confirmed per year. With so many of these cases leading to serious health issues and even death, skin checks are now becoming more important than ever.
Here are the most important reasons Why Everyone Needs Regular Skin Checks:
1. The NZ skin cancer rate is rising.
More Kiwis are being diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and this rate is only rising. This is due to a number of risk factors, including exposure to harmful UV radiation, low ozone levels, genetic heritage, outdoor lifestyles, and our general population demographic. It is reported that 70% of skin cancer cases occur in people over 50, and our population is aging.
2. We have the highest rate of melanoma in the world.
This isn’t a scare tactic – the numbers are real. Melanoma is the most aggressive and lethal type of skin cancer. According to Melanoma NZ, over 4000 people are diagnosed with melanoma every year, which means 13 Kiwis are told they have a fatal skin cancer every day. 80% of all skin cancer deaths are caused by melanoma alone, and over 300 Kiwis die of melanoma every year.
3. Skin checks save lives.
Prevention is always better than cure. Sometimes the “slip, slop, slap” message promoted since the 1980s isn’t quite enough. We’re strong advocates for this – slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, and slap on a hat – but those in the skin health industry will always advise getting a regular skin or mole check. This is especially true for those who are more at risk.
Regular skin checks can ensure early detection, and the earlier skin cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chances of an excellent prognosis and even of being cured. At the early stages, skin cancer will only affect the superficial layers of the skin, and some people can achieve a 100% cure rate when treated in the earliest stages. Melanoma in particular becomes more difficult to treat once the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.
4. To improve overall skin appearance.
Skin issues such as acne, pigmentation, and other skin lesions are often signs of problematic skin health. These can be caused by excessive sun damage, early aging, or genetics. Getting your skin checked doesn’t only help improve skin health through expert skin repair and rejuvenation, it also helps with various cosmetic concerns and improving overall skin appearance. Undergoing a full assessment, consultation and follow-up skin checks will help you get rid of any annoying and uncomfortable skin issues.
5. For peace of mind.
A skin check can often feel like a visit to the dentist – we know we should do it but put it off until a real problem arises. Getting your skin regularly assessed will help relieve this guilt and offer you peace of mind, especially if you are more at risk to develop skin issues or skin cancer.
Understanding your risk factors is crucial to determining exactly how many times you need a professional skin check. Performing regular skin checks at home is also possible so you can spot suspicious mole growth in between thorough checks from your skin expert.