The Perth sunshine is just one of the reasons we love our city so much, and Perth mums are blessed with ample opportunities to get outside with the kids for most of the year.
Whether you’re enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air on a walk, at the beach or at the park, it’s also important to be sun-smart while taking in some rays and be aware of the risks of melanoma.
WA is second only to Queensland when it comes to melanoma rates, and Australia’s rates as a whole are second only to New Zealand. A mole or spot on the skin can turn into melanoma, so staying safe in the sun is a must in Perth.
My daughter Olivia in her first hat.
I spend time outdoors for exercise, social events and while spending time with my daughter. I make an effort to ensure she is lathered in sunscreen, wearing a hat and is mostly covered when we’re out in the sun, but in my pursuit for her to be safe, I often forget about my own sun safety and as a mum, need to take better care of it at times.
I recently got a full body skin check.
I do however, take the time to have my moles and freckles checked by a professional once a year. I recently underwent a full body mole check at my local skin cancer clinic, Skin Check WA in Aubin Grove, just to make sure none of the marks have grown, changed colour or morphed into something more suspicious than an innocent freckle. I have a large mole on my back and one on each ear that I’ve been told to keep an eye on. Easier said than done.
Skin Check WA are located in Inglewood and Aubin Grove.
So what happens during a full body skin check? It’s a fairly straight forward process - under specialised lighting, a trained doctor will check each freckle, mole, sun spot, suspicious or innocuous looking mark using video dermoscopy, which magnifies each spot to 50 times its original size. They can also use digital dermoscopy to magnify moles by 300 times. That’s one big freckle. They can also perform simple spot checks in case you have a small area of skin that you need examined for changes from time to time.
If any suspicious lesions or sun-spots are identified as potentially cancerous, the clinic can remove using a non-invasive electrosurgical method.
Always take sunscreen out and about.
The doctor told me I have irreversible sun damage to my neck and ears, and that the moles on my ears are the ones I need to be most aware of. That word ‘irreversible’ really hits home – while there is no risk currently, there may be a risk of melanoma in my later years, so it’s important for mums in particular to be acutely aware of the risks of sun damage and to take a few minutes to prepare ourselves, as well as our kids.
And don't forget the baby and kids sunscreen.
If you are going to be spending extended periods out in the sun, lather up before you go, take a bottle of sunscreen with you, wear a hat and stay covered as much as possible. You can buy baby sunscreen that will protect delicate skin from the beautiful, yet harsh Perth sun.
So while you’re slapping the sunscreen on your children, be sure to save some for yourself too.
For more information about Skin Check WA, click here
To find a local GP or other specialist near you click here