Melanoma is one of the fastest-growing cancers worldwide, and while protecting yourself is important, a new test will also help make diagnosing it faster and easier.
May is melanoma awareness month, and with 90 per cent of melanomas caused by the sun and tanning beds, people are being reminded to take precautions.
Ken Fitzpatrick has spent a lot of time outdoors over the years, first as a swimmer and then a swimming coach. In 2012, he was diagnosed with melanoma.
He says “I had a mole on my chest that looked different and it probably looked different for longer than I realized…The reality of dealing with cancer of any type becomes real when [the doctor] sits you down and says, ‘Yeah, this is pretty serious.’”
For people who are concerned, only the second Verisante Aura Scan in Ontario will be coming to London at the end of May. It’s a test that can detect cancerous moles almost instantly.
“Basically you’ll be able to detect a cancerous mole in seconds and if it is then we can make sure they get to our dermatologist very quickly,” says Medpoint Health Care president Alex Hanham
And the places people most commonly forget to apply sunscreen are behind the knees and on feet, ears, the scalp and hands.
Fitzpatrick still goes for regular checkups and has thankfully remained cancer free. He now spreads the word to the swimmers that he coaches to stay out of the sun.
But if you’d rather avoid having to get a scan, it’s important to remember you can still get severe sunburn even on an overcast day.