Category Archives: SCIENCE

Pain Management Specialist Perth

Pain Management Specialist PerthGood News and Bad News for Chronic Pain Sufferers

First the bad news. It is well recognised that some 80% of chronic pain patients get no or insufficient relief from their chronic pain treatment. When you read the article below you’ll see exactly why this is happening.

However there is good news also, because a new approach to treating non-malignant chronic pain is getting outstanding results, and you can read about that below also.

Radical New Weight Loss Program Launches Globally

New Weight Loss Approach Set to Finally Achieve Effortless Weight Loss, and Permanently Combat Obesity

bg86A new weight loss program has arrived on the market that signals the demise of every other program, because finally we have one that actually works without effort, and where people find it difficult if not impossible to revert to old behaviour.

The really exciting thing is that anyone can try it for free, without handing over credit card details so you know there’ll be no nasty surprises on your bank statement.

WeightChoice – How Does it Work?

Well first up it’s not a diet, doesn’t include supplements, shakes, meal replacements, or any other gimmicks. Neither does it need anyone to embark on some gut-churning exercise program.

To understand very quickly and easily how it works, it’s necessary to first realise why every other diet program fails for nearly 98% of people.

The reason for the failure is that these programs expect people to make changes that are directly opposed to how they’d deep-down prefer to be eating. Also, they expect people to make these impossible changes using willpower or silly old CBT or mindfulness. It’s a load of bunk, and with hindsight it’s very obvious why these programs are doomed from the get go.

In contrast, WeightChoice understands that eating behaviour is driven by unconscious conditioned responses, and these are different for everyone. They first identify your specific conditioned responses around non-hungry eating, and then use almost-unknown new psychological techniques to literally wipe them out, permanently.

Here’s an example of how that can happen in just a few fun minutes.

World-wide Giveaway Requires No Credit Card!

Anyone can get a detailed “how to” video, along with notes, just by going to www.win.weightchoice.com.au. There’s even an opportunity to win the entire program just by sharing as many times as you like.

Testosterone Implants in Perth, Western Australia

 

This article addresses the rationale and benefits of testosterone implants, and describes both incompetent and competent implantation so that if you do decide upon an implant you can assess the medical professional who does your precedure and don’t have to suffer pain, scarring, and money down the drain as I did.

I also discuss testosterone and weight loss because many people wonder if their excess weight is due to having low testerone.

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It’s not unusual for both men and women to make so little testosterone as they age, that quality of life suffers severely.

This isn’t just about the well-known “loss of libido” effect, but about deadening fatigue, sleep problems, depression without psychological cause, and a whole lot of other symptoms that can make life hellish.

The answer to low testosterone may be a pill or a cream that is used daily, but more people are turning to testosterone implants in order to get better absorption, at a lower cost, and with more convenience. However there are a couple of problems, particularly here in Perth.

Difficulty of Obtaining the Implant

Your doctor may readily write a prescription for you, based on your testosterone status, but there are no compounding pharmacies in Perth which can manufacture the testosterone implant/s, which look like small pellets.

There is a compounding pharmacy in Sydney, and you will have to send the original prescription to them, and wait about 2-4 weeks, before you can take the implant/s to your doctor for the implantation procedure.

Physician Incompetence

Shockingly, a so-called Northern suburb specialist, appeared to have no idea whatsoever about any stage of the procedure. These were his areas of incompetence:

He clearly did not understand how local anaesthetic works, and did not wait even 10 seconds before beginning to pierce the skin with a needle to test numbness. He then injected another ampoule and immediately began cutting with the scalpel, of course creating intense pain. He then accused the patient of having a low pain threshold.

He either wasn’t aware or didn’t care about the position of the incision, cutting into the abdomen instead on the back of the hip area.

He failed to position the pellet correctly. Instead of the standard practice of using a trocar to position the pellet several centimetres on the horizontal away from the incision, he simply used the scalpel itself to push the pellet to the bottom of the hole he had made. This almost guaranteed that the implantation would fail (ie, work itself to the surface), and indeed it did.

Patients undergoing hormone implantation should be monitored over the duration of the implant’s expected effectiveness. However this doctor gave the patient a pathology request form and instructed the patient to have the test in 6 months’ time (by which the pellet would be inactive anyway) and come back in 6 months! This means that the patient’s hormone levels would be completely unmonitored for the duration of the implant’s “life”.

Having inserted the pellet, he did not attempt to stem the bleeding (ie no pressure applied for any length of time whatsoever) and neither did he attempt to close the wound in any way, failing to use steri-strips, a suture, or even surgical glue. He merely placed a waterproof bandage over the open, bleeding wound, which of course bled into the bandage.

He instructed to patient to remove the bandage 3 days later, whereupon the patient was shocked to find a gaping wound, still bleeding.

It took almost a month for the pellet to work its way out and the wound to heal, but required 3 visits to the GP to manage the wound, which become infected despite the best care possible.

If you are unlucky enough to get a negligent or incompetent doctor to do this procedure, be aware that you will have no recourse through legal action or via the Medical Board of Western Australia. I realise that is very unjust and even quite disgusting, but that is how it is.

How the Procedure Should Be Done

Before you allow any doctor to undertake this procedure, check that they are skilled enough to do so. The following is what a properly-qualified and experienced doctor will do:

  1. There will be a nurse assisting and all equipment will be properly prepared beforehand.
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  2. You will be asked to lay well onto one side to allow access to the back of the hip area.
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  3. The area will be sterilised and local anaesthetic will be injected into several spots not only around the incision area, but also along the path of the implantation instrument, the trocar (see below).
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  4. The doctor will leave you for at least 10-15 minutes for local anaesthesia to be successfully achieved.
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  5. The incision and placement of the pellet/s are extremely rapid and totally painless. A trocar (hollow, quite wide-bore tube) will be used to push a “tunnel” horizontally away from the incision point, and the pellet/s will be dropped into the trocar and then slid along to the end using a wand that is pushing along inside the trocar after the pellet has been dropped in.
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  6. Following this extremely rapid, fuss-free and pain-free procedure, you’ll be asked to roll onto the incision and stay there for 10 minutes so that your body weight can act as pressure to stop any bleeding.
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  7. Steri-strips or surgical glue will be used to properly close the small wound, and a waterproof bandage placed over that.
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  8. In 3 days you will remove the waterproof bandage (carefully so that you don’t disrupt the steri-strips) and replace it with a fresh waterproof bandage, to last a further 3 days.
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  9. You’ll be asked to avoid physical activity such as sport for about a week to allow the wound to heal and the implant to settle into place.
  10. You’ll be told to leave the steri-strips in place until they fall off naturally.
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  11. You’ll be given a pathology test request to have your testosterone levels checked in a month’s time, and to meet with your doctor to review, so that your uptake of testosterone can be properly monitored.

Who Can You Trust to Do this Procedure in Perth Northern Suburbs?

Dr Lou Zaninvich at Green Road Medical Centre, Hillary’s, has been performing this procedure for many years and is an acknowledged expert. Whereas the standard failure rate for this procedure is about 6-8% (where it is rejected by the body and works its way out to the surface) Dr Zaninvich’s failure rate is around 2%, which is outstanding.

Dr Zaninvich will even order the implant for you, saving you the bother of dealing with the Sydney compounding pharmacy, and the clinic will telephone you to book for your procedure once it arrives.

Because Dr Zaninvich is a GP, his fees are very much lower than those of the incompetent specialist described above.

The telephone number for the clinic is 9401 2299.

Testosterone and Weight Gain – Myths and Truths about Weight Loss

Many people, especially women, wonder if their weight gain might be addressed through increasing their testosterone. Unfortunately, although testosterone might provide many benefits for men and women whose lab tests show low levels, there is no evidence at all that weight loss is one of them.

What we would urge everyone to do about excess weight is to avoid diets and other weight loss programs which depend upon willpower and self discipline to make changes. According to Australian Government Health Department reports, this approach FAILS for nearly 98% of people.

The net effect of those types of programs is that weight increases over time due to the “yo-yo” effect on metabolic rate. The more dieting, the more damage.

For both men and women who want to reach a healthy weight and maintain it without effort, there is only one way to do that and that is to get help to identify their conditioned responses around food and beverages, and to eliminate those so that they’re no longer in play. In effect, you become “fat proof”.

What About Exercise?

Exercise is proven to increase testosterone but not to decrease weight. More than 60 recent studies show that rather than leading to weight loss, exercise can lead to weight gain for most people due to increased appetite and compensatory rest.

So while exercise is essential for health and wellbeing, and dramatically decreases the risk of developing some quite fatal diseases and disorders, it is not really relevant for weight loss.

You can read more about exercise and weight loss HERE.

7 Ways To Convince People That Evolution Is More Than Just A Theory

If you’re tired of arguing with people who don’t understand evolution, here’s the ammunition you need.

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1) The fossil record.

 

“The fossil record is incomplete! Where are the missing links?” ask creationists. Yes, the fossil record is “incomplete”. The only way it could be “complete” would be if literally every single living thing had been fossilised after it died. That doesn’t happen, because the process of fossilisation is incredibly unlikely, especially for land creatures.

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But given how unlikely it is, the fossil record is amazingly good. Take any species of large vertebrate alive at the moment, and there’s a good chance there will be fossils which could be its ancestor. In some cases there are lots.

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For instance: Whales. We know whales are descended from land mammals. But for a long time, it wasn’t clear which. Darwin thought their ancestors might be something like a bear; later evidence suggested it’s probably a relative of cows and hippopotamuses. But there wasn’t a fossil of a whale-ancestor on the brink of becoming aquatic.

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And then, in 1994, a skeleton was found in Pakistan, of a 50-million-year-old animal which is now known as Ambulocetus natans. It’s an ancestor of whales, but it has small hooves: It lived a largely but not exclusively aquatic life, like that of modern seals.

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That’s not the only whale ancestor. There’s Pakicetus, a dog-sized predator which lived between 52 and 48 million years ago, and which appears to have been amphibious, perhaps spending a good portion of its time in the water, like a hippo, but still comfortable on land. Or, later, there’s Aetiocetus. While Ambulocetus had nostrils on the tip of its snout, and modern whales have blowholes on the tops of their heads, Aetiocetus has nostrils half-way up its nose. It’s a beautiful example of a fossil which shows how an earlier species evolved into a later one.

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I’ve chosen whales: I could have chosen penguins, or turtles, or horses, or, of course, humans. Yes, a “missing link” has been found between humans and apes. In fact, several have. There is Sahelanthropus, an ape which lived around the time that humans and chimpanzees diverged. Then there are the Ardipithecus and Australopithecus ape-men. Then comes the arbitrary line where we start calling them humans: The genus Homo includes, among others, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neandertalis and Homo sapiens, all of which have several fossil examples.

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It’s actually not very helpful to talk in terms of “transitional forms”. All species are transitional. Humans will probably look very different, if we exist, in a million years’ time, but we don’t feel like a “transitional form” between Homo erectus and future humans. Instead it’s worth talking about “transitional characteristics” between older species and more recent ones. Tiktaalik, which appears to be an early ancestor of amphibians, has lots of transitional characteristics between fish and amphibians: Its fins are limb-like and can support it out of water, and it has a lung-like organ. It lived about 375 million years ago, and we know about it from fossils found in Canada.

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If anyone ever says to you that the fossil record is “incomplete”, ask them how much more complete they would like it to be.

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2) The spread of species.

 

People sometimes complain that evolution is “unfalsifiable”. What they mean by that is that a scientific idea should make testable predictions, and that evolution, apparently, doesn’t — so, if the theory of evolution is false, you can’t prove it false.

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That’s nonsense. There are dozens — thousands — of testable predictions that the theory of evolution implies. Let’s take a look at one subset: The geographical spread of species.

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The Virginia oppossum, the only marsupial to live in North America.

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Marsupials are a group of mammals that give birth to their young at a much earlier stage than other mammals, and then carry them with them in a pouch on their bellies. The group includes kangaroos and wombats and opposums, among other creatures.

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There’s a confusing thing about them, though: They live on landmasses separated by thousands of miles of ocean. Most marsupials are found in Australia and New Guinea and other nearby islands. But 100 species or so are found in the Americas, mainly South America, with a few in Central and one in North America. They’re not found in the Asian landmass which sort-of links the two, so they can’t have walked, and they certainly can’t have swum.

The theory of evolution predicts that there must have been some way that the ancestors of the Australasian and American marsupials made it into their respective continents, without having to swim across any oceans. In Darwin’s time there was no available explanation.

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But other lines of evidence put the common ancestor of modern marsupials at around 150 million years ago. And in recent decades, geologists have shown that back then South America and Australia were part of one huge supercontinent called Gondwana. Marsupials all lived in the same place, and the two groups were separated by the movement of tectonic plates.

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A New World brown spider monkey (left) and an Old World black-footed grey langur. Magnus Manske / Fir0002 / Creative Commons Licence / Via en.wikipedia.org

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The theory of evolution predicts that the geographical spread of species will be dictated by whether their ancestors could actually have made it there. Penguins could probably survive in the Arctic, but you don’t find them there, because their ancestors lived south of the Equator. The common ancestor of Old World and New World monkeys lived before South America and Africa had split apart. To falsify the theory of evolution, you’d simply need to show that some species couldn’t plausibly have made it from point A to point B. In the 156 years since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, that hasn’t happened.

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3) Anatomy.

 

Evolution has to work on what already exists. If it’s true, then we would expect to see that, for instance, body parts in one species can be mapped onto those of another, because they share an ancestor.

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And that’s exactly what we do find. Look at the human hand. It has five fingers, each with four bones, including the one in the body of the hand. And if you look at the forearms of all mammals, you’ll see the same structure.

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What’s really surprising is that it’s true even if the creature in question hasn’t got “limbs” like ours. The flippers of whales and seals, and the wings of bats, have exactly the same pentadactyl (five-fingered) structure. And lizards and frogs have it too. It’s because we all share an ancestor, a creature called Eusthenopteron, which lived about 385 million years ago.

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“Venus Flytrap showing trigger hairs”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

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It’s not just limbs: You can see homologous structures in plants (the basic “leaf” structure has been co-opted for things as diverse as onion layers and Venus flytrap mouthparts). The ears of modern mammals include bones that are homologous to the bones of lizards’ jaws. The mouth parts of insects are hugely diverse, depending on the lifestyle the insect has, but every one has the same basic structure. If evolution weren’t true, there would be no reason to expect these signs of common descent.

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4) Genetics.

 

The most striking evidence that all creatures share the same ancestor is this: They all share the same basic genetic code. The gene for an eye in a fruit fly will make an eye in a mouse. DNA is the language that all life talks in (unless you count viruses as alive, and even they use RNA, a simpler molecule, to hijack the DNA in other creatures’ cells).

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But the evidence from DNA is subtler than that. By comparing the genetic code of species, biologists have shown that more closely related creatures share more DNA. Humans share about 99% of their genetic material with chimpanzees, our closest relatives, but only about 96% with gorillas, our slightly more distant cousin. By comparison, we share about 35% of our genes with daffodils, our far, far more distant relatives.

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As our understanding of genetics has improved, we’ve been able to use it to piece together great swaths of our evolutionary history. For example, the fact that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals was revealed by genetic analysis.

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5) Convergent evolution.

 

The geographical spread of species is limited by their ancestry, as we’ve seen. But sometimes species separated by thousands of miles face similar challenges. A herbivore on the grass plains of North America would have the same sort of problems that a herbivore on the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa would. If evolution were true, you would expect unrelated species to have evolved to come up with similar solutions.

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And lo and behold, that’s true. The American pronghorn looks and behaves much like an African antelope, but is not an antelope and is only very distantly related to them. Because it faced fast-moving predators on wide grass plains, it evolved long legs for sprinting and a nervous disposition, like its equivalents in Africa.

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Aardvarks, anteaters, Australian echidnas, pangolins, and armadillos have all evolved to eat ants or termites, and have developed powerful arms for digging into the nest and long snouts with long sticky tongues to swipe their prey out of them. But these groups are incredibly distantly related; the last common ancestor of all five lived about 400 million years ago. For comparison, the most recent common ancestor of humans and pangolins lived less than 100 million years ago. The ant-eating specialities evolved independently, because they’re a good way of solving a problem.

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6) We’ve seen evolution happen, in real time.

 

Normally we think of evolution as something that happens over thousands or millions of years, and it often is. But there are plenty of examples of it happening in human timescales.

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The most famous example is the peppered moth, which lives in forests in Britain and is camouflaged against tree bark. Up until the 19th century they were all white, but when the Industrial Revolution blackened the trees in British forests, the white colouring became much more visible. In 1811 a first dark specimen was recorded, a mutant. Against the dark trees they were much harder for predators to spot. By the end of the century it outnumbered the white ones. But as the heavily polluting industries in Britain fell away in the 20th century, and the forests became cleaner again, the white moth became more common.

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Some creationists will tell you that the peppered moth is an example of “microevolution”, and doesn’t represent the “macroevolution” which would explain the creation of whole new species. In that case, point them to the apple maggot. Since the introduction of apples to North America, a whole new species of fly is steadily emerging. Before 1850, the ancestors of the apple maggot fed on hawthorn. Now, the subspecies of maggots which eat apples rarely eat hawthorn, and vice versa. The two are apparently in the early stages of speciation.

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“Rhagoletis pomonella” by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.orginsectimages.org. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

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More importantly for humans, bacteria and viruses evolve much faster, because they go through so many generations so quickly. There are now dozens of kinds of microbe which are resistant to various drugs. Penicillin, the first breakthrough antibiotic, is largely useless these days, because so many bacteria are resistant to it. That is evolution in action: A bacterium which happened to have a mutation which protects it against an antibiotic will, in an environment where that antibiotic exists, have more offspring than its rivals.

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7) Evolution is indeed a “theory”. But “theory” doesn’t mean “hunch”. It is both a theory and a fact.

 

People who don’t believe in evolution sometimes say it’s “only a theory”, because it’s called the “theory of evolution”. That’s because, in everyday language, we use the word “theory” to mean something like “hypothesis” or “guess”. But scientists use it to mean something much more specific. Here’s how the American Association for the Advancement of Science puts it:

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A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than “just a theory.” It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.

 

This Is How You Detect A Melanoma

Because there’s never been a better reason to check yourself.

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1. In Australia, two out of three people will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they turn 70. The most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma.

In Australia, two out of three people will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they turn 70. The most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma.

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2. An even scarier fact? Melanoma and other skin cancers kill more than 2000 Australians each year.

.This Is How You Detect A Melanoma

As with most types of cancer, the early detection of skin cancer is the best way to avoid surgery, disfigurement or death.

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3. The rate of skin cancer in Australia is two to three times the rates in the US, UK and Canada.

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Lucky for all skin-owners, Cancer Council Australia have published the ABCD melanoma detection guide, to help you monitor your own skin, by looking out for these signs of melanoma.

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4. A is for asymmetry

A is for asymmetry

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“An asymmetrical mole can be a sign of cancerous growth, particularly in melanomas,” Dr Patricia Lowe, Honorary Secretary of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and an advisor to Cancer Council Australia tells BuzzFeed Life.

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While not all types of skin cancer are asymmetrical, it’s still worth noting whether yours is an irregular shape. The best way to determine symmetry? Draw a line down the centre of your mole and check if each side mirrors the other or not. If the sides are uneven, your mole is asymmetrical.

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5. B is for border

B is for border

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Blotched edges on a mole can be a sign that a spot is growing, changing or spreading, explains Dr Lowe. So, keep an eye out for faded, irregular edges.

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6. C is for colour

C is for colour

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While it’s a very common misconception that darker moles are more likely to be skin cancer, it’s important to note any spots that have a number of colours, including black, blue, white, red or grey.

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7. D is for diameter

D is for diameter

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This means paying attention to any moles that seem to be getting bigger. “Once we reach adulthood, if our weight and body growth remains the same our moles shouldn’t be changing so any growth or change is worth investigating,” says Dr Lowe.

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8. As it’s unlikely you’ll find all items on the checklist, if you notice even one of these signs, it’s important to get your skin checked by a professional.

As it's unlikely you'll find all items on the checklist, if you notice even one of these signs, it's important to get your skin checked by a professional.

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If you don’t have any signs on this checklist, it’s still beyond important to continue to check your skin regularly. “Moles that have been around for years can develop into a skin cancer later in life, sometimes decades later,” says Dr Lowe.

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“That’s why it’s important to know your skin and what’s normal for you and go get checked out if anything changes. As well as the ABCD detection guide, keep an eye out for new moles, spots or moles that change colour, a spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it or the surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly, ulcerated, itchy, tingly, bleeding or weeping.”

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Basically, it’s important to notice what’s going on with your skin, so that when you do see something change, you can act fast.

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9. And remember, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer. In fact, non-melanoma skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.

This Is How You Detect A Melanoma

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So, stay safe out there. Keep out of the sun whenever possible. Wear an SPF 30+ or higher sunscreen. And, check your skin regularly.