Skin Cancer

Spot the Difference

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and each year, it accounts for approximately 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers. According to Cancer Council Victoria, approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. It can affect anyone and everyone, but it is more common the older you are, if you are fair-skinned and if you are frequently exposed to UV rays through work, sport and/or leisure activities.

Prevention methods such as sunscreen, protective clothing (hats, sunglasses and clothing with a high ultraviolet protection rating) and seeking shade should be taken throughout the entire year in Australia, especially in Shepparton, which often has a very high UV Index even in winter. If spending the day out in the sun, make sure to check UV levels and recommended sun protection times the day before to ensure you have adequate protection. You can check this via SunSmart, Bureau of Meteorology, in the weather section of your dailynewspaper or the weather app on your phone.

Early detection and treatment is key in preventing skin cancer from metastasising to other areas of the body. Knowing what to look for and getting regular skin checks can help with early detection. Not all skin cancers look the same, but there are signs to look for such as:
  • Spots that look different from other spots on the skin
  • Spot that have changed in size, shape, colour or texture
  • Spots that become itchy or bleed
  • Any spots that don't appear to be healing

 All Shepparton Skin Clinic practitioners have expertise in screening for skin cancer, determining whether a spot is harmless, a warning sign or a type of skin cancer. If you have noticed a spot or mole that you are concerned about, contact us today to book in for a skin check or total body mapping. For more information on the warning signs, harmless spots and the different types of skin cancer, click the links below.

Warning Signs

Warning signs for skin cancer are known as solar keratoses or sunspots.

These types of spots are a warning skin that you are prone to skin cancer and appear as red, flattish scaling dry skin that may sting if scratched. Solar keratoses or sunspots are most common in people over the age of 40 and appear on areas of the skin that are most often exposed to the sun (for example, hands and face).

Harmless Spots

There are two forms of harmless sports: Moles & Seborrhoeic Keratoses


It is important to monitor your moles carefully for any signs of change.

Moles are:

  • Harmless coloured spots that range from 1mm to 10mm in diameter
  • Most are uniform in shape and even in colour, however they can also have uneven borders and multiples colours such as brown and black
  • Some moles may be raised. This is normal but should still be monitored.

Seborrhoeic Keratoses

Like moles it is important monitor these spots for any signs of change.

Seborrhoeic keratoses are:

  • Spots with a very discreet edge and will look like it sits on top of the skin
  • Their colour ranges from pale brown to orange or black, and their size varies from a few millimetres to a few centimetres
  • By the age of 60, most people will have one or two of these types of spots.

Skin Cancer

There are four types of skin cancers: Melanoma, Nodular Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma & Squamous Cell Carcinoma


Melanomas are the most deadly form of skin cancer.

These deadly spots can appear as a new spot or an existing spot that has changed in colour, size or shape. They can also show up on skin that isn’t normally exposed to the sun. If left untreated it can spread to other parts of the body.

Common features of a melanoma include:

  • Edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred
  • Colour isn't uniform
  • Half of the spot doesn't match the other
  • The spot is larger than 6mm across (about 1/4 inch) or is growing larger

Nodular Melanoma

Nodular melanomas looked vastly different to common melanomas.

Common features of nodular melanomas are:

  • These melanomas grow very quickly.
  • Unlike other melanomas, they are even in colour and raised
  • Are dome shaped and firm to touch
  • They will being to bleed and crust after some time

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma are the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer.

Common features of basal cell carcinoma are:

  • Have a red, pale or pearly colouration
  • Appear as a lump or a dry, scaly area of skin
  • Grows slowly, usually in appears that are often exposed to the sun
  • May ulcerate or may fail to heal completely

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma are more likely to occur in people over the age of 50 years.

Common features of squamous cell carcinoma are: 

  • Appear as a thickened, red scaly spot
  • May bleed easily, crust or ulcerate
  • Are dome shaped and firm to touch
  • They will being to bleed and crust after some time