When Canberra radio presenter, Georgia Stynes, first noticed a mark on her forehead during the lockdowns, she told herself it was probably nothing to worry about. Due to the pandemic, the last few years have been like none other, and many routines were thrown by the wayside. We’ve all been guilty to putting off health checks, and Georgia assumed delaying her skin check would be no big deal. Unfortunately, she had to find out otherwise.
Skin Cancer Can Come in All Shapes and Sizes
When Georgia noticed the red, scaly mark on her forehead, she thought because it didn’t resemble a melanoma, or a ‘mutant mole’, it meant it was nothing to be concerned about. Time got away from her when she eventually had a skin check, it’d been twelve months since she’d noticed the mark. Though melanoma is the deadliest variant of skin cancer, it isn’t the only type. What Georgia would discover was that she had Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma develops in the Basal Cells and is the most common form of skin cancer. The main cause is over exposure to UV radiation, which can come from natural sources like the sun, or by artificial means, like tanning beds. It’s far more common in people over 50, though any adult is at risk, especially if they spend a lot of time outdoors. The good news is Basal Cell Carcinoma is incredibly rare in children. Though BCC isn’t as aggressive as Melanoma, it still can be a deadly disease if left untreated. Like any cancer, the sooner you catch Basal Cell Carcinoma, the better.
Waiting to treat skin cancer can cost you.
When the results came back, Georgia discovered the mark she could see on her forehead was only the tip of the iceberg. What could have been an easily treatable skin cancer was left long enough to develop into a tumour which reached deep down into her facial nerves. As Georgia described it herself, ‘It was a slow growing cancer, but I was even slower.’ What could have been a quick procedure in her GP’s office instead needed day surgery. It was a costly, traumatic experience that has left Georgia with a large cross shaped scar where the skin cancer was. Unfortunately, the chances of her tumour growing back are quite high. She has bravely shared her story to prove that skin cancer doesn’t discriminate and can happen to anyone. She also wants others to learn from her story, and to not put off simple health checks.
Skin Checks are essential in catching skin cancer early.
Doctor’s have noticed a drop in skin checks since the pandemic started back in 2020. While COVID-19 seemed to only illness anyone was talking about, other diseases, like skin cancer, didn’t magically stop during the pandemic. As Georgia learnt the hard way, catching skin cancer early is always better than finding it later.
Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Though Melanoma is the most deadly and aggressive form of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma should still be taken seriously. Though slow growing, as Georgia found out, if left too long, it can become a major ordeal to treat. Some of the signs to look out for include:
- An open sore that won’t heal. It may ooze, bleed or crust but never seem to get better.
- A reddish patch on your face, neck, shoulders or back. It may itch or be irritated and again, it never quite heals.
- A slightly transparent, skin coloured lump. This lump could also look pearly white, glossy and tiny blood vessels may be visible (this detail will be harder to see in darker skin).
- A brown, black or blue lesion, a lesion with a dark spot, or any lesion that’s slightly raised, scaly or doesn’t seem to be healing.
- Any flat scaly patch with raised edges. When left these patches can get quite large.
- White, waxy, scar like lesions with no clearly defined borders
- Any unusual lumps, scabs or lumps that you haven’t had checked or won’t heal.
Basal Cell Carcinoma will almost always develop in areas that are exposed to the sun, with the most common places being the neck and head. Though very rare, it is possible to develop Basal Cell Carcinoma is places not exposed to the sun, like the genital area or between your toes. So even if it is in an odd place, if it resembles Basal Cell Carcinoma, have it looked at by a professional.
Book Your Skin Check Today
If you have any marks, abnormal moles or it’s just been a while since your last skin check, book your appointment with Sun Doctors today. Skin checks are a painless procedure that can give peace of mind, and you never know when it could save your life.