Men urged to do melanoma spot check

HUNTER men are being targeted in a campaign designed to decrease melanoma deaths.

The Hunter Melanoma Foundation will today launch the advertising and public awareness campaign, which features men who have caught melanoma early, as well as the widows of men who did not.

The foundation said more than 50per cent of melanoma deaths in the Hunter were in men aged over 50.

The campaign’s ‘‘check mate’’ message calls on men aged over 40 to get a ten-minute skin check, which could save their life.

Lawrie Hogg, 52, of Whitebridge, had his skin checked when, at age 48, he noticed a pimple-like itchy spot on his back.

Mr Hogg’s mother Pat died in 2004, age 75, after a melanoma diagnosis.

His father Lance has also suffered and survived several melanomas.

Lawrie Hogg said his family’s experience prompted him to get checked.

‘‘If you get it early and you’re aware of it you certainly have a good chance of getting through it,’’ he said.

The foundation said that if picked up early, melanoma had a high cure rate.

Veronica Corbett, of Lambs Valley, near Lochinvar, also features in the campaign.

Her husband Paul lost his battle with melanoma nine years ago, aged 56.

Mrs Corbett said she wanted to encourage men to see their doctor twice a year to get their skin checked, and to be aware of spots or any changes.

‘‘We’ve got to get men to just think about themselves a little bit,’’ she said.

‘‘If you can avoid other people going through this, it would be good.

‘‘Because it’s such an insidious thing, this melanoma.’’

MELANOMA FACTS

* About 50% of melanomas appear as a new mole or lesion on the skin, and 50% in an existing mole or lesion

* UV radiation exposure before age 30 is the main cause of melanoma

* The Hunter has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world

* Men over 50 account for more than 50% of melanoma deaths

* When detected early melanoma has a 97% five-year survival rate for melanoma less than 1mm thick

* Examine skin every three months to detect any change in spots

* Get a skin check at the doctor once a year

Source: Hunter Melanoma Foundation

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