Each year over 4000 Kiwis are diagnosed with melanoma in New Zealand, that’s around 13 people every day.
To support those affected and help raise awareness, Melanoma Awareness Week is proud to present Go Spotty Day.
The nationwide event fittingly kicks off on Friday 19 as we head into Labour Weekend, a line in the sand that we Kiwis often use to mark the start of summer. Just like birthdays, Go Spotty Day will make the most of its time in the sun and take place for an entire week, running until Friday October 26.
To get on board with the day, encourage your school, workplace or group of friends to get spotted. Wear something spotty, create a spot of art or make a donation, then post your support with the hashtag #gotspotty. Your donation will help to promote early detection and educate the public about how to stay protected.
If you’d prefer a more reserved approach to the day, simply get to know the skin you’re in and start regularly checking for spots or signs that could lead to early detection.
Blair Tuke, ambassador for Melanoma New Zealand will be putting sun safety into practice as he celebrates Go Spotty Day from the water as part of the annual Labour Weekend PIC Costal Classic.
“Sailors and boaties spend so many hours outdoors and on the water, it’s important to educate the community about melanoma,” says Blair.
“The more we can do to get people educated about simple checks and steps to protect themselves, the more likely we are to reduce the risks.”
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, which can progress quickly to other parts of the body if not treated early and Go Spotty Day is a great way to get involved and remind your friends and family to spot the signs early.
Medical Oncologist and Melanoma New Zealand Trustee Dr. Rosalie Stephen’s top tips for what to watch out for when checking your skin:
• Follow the ‘Ugly Duckling’ rule: If one mole differs to nearby moles, it is the ugly duckling, and when in doubt, head straight to your doctor or a specialist.
• Melanomas can often be detected through the ABCDE system:
• Asymmetry – Two halves of the mole are different from one another.
• Border – Edges of the mole are poorly defined.
• Colour – Colour is uneven with shades of black, brown and tan. (Moles may also be white, grey, red, pink or blue.)
• Different – From other lesions.
• Evolving – Any change in appearance, or bleeding?
• Even if you’re not concerned about a particular spot, most New Zealanders are advised to have yearly allover skin checks. Those with a family history of melanoma, fair/red skin and hair, and large numbers of moles are at particularly high risk.