Approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. Skin cancer occurs in skin cells that are damaged by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, causing DNA damage to skin cells. In Queensland, skin cancer rates has been reported to be near 60 per cent higher than rest of nation.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer; still, non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common skin cancer. Non-melanoma cancers are more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women.
Like other cancers, early detection and treatment of skin cancer is paramount to a quick and simple road to treatment.
A professional skin check, in addition to a regular self-examinations give you the best chance of finding suspicious skin lesions. A skin cancer checkup assesses your skin cancer risk and indicates any current skin problems of concern. The checkup includes taking your medical history, including previous sun UV exposure, as well as undertaking a detailed examination of your skin.
During a professional skin check, doctors use a number of tools and techniques to examine skin thoroughly, beyond what the naked eye can see.
We have doctors with specialised training in the assessment and management of skin cancer who can do a comprehensive skin check which involves a detailed history and the examination of your skin. This is done from head to toe with underwear being left on using simple magnification and dermoscopy- a kind of hand-held microscope. However, a more targeted examination may be performed if a patient requests just for a mole check or a particular area to be checked e.g. back only. In this case, that particular area or skin lesion is to be exposed and checked only. Dermoscopy examinations are joint with a camera which allows our doctors to take pictures of suspicious skin lesions to monitor any changes that may occur during time.
It is recommended that you have a skin check annually. To help us to examine your skin better, we would recommend you not to wear a make up nor nail polish.
In some occasions, the doctor may off you treatments and/or procedures to be carried out at the time of consultation. Sometimes, they may offer you “cryotherapy” which is freezing the skin lesion with liquid Nitrogen. In some instances, perhaps a biopsy (taking a small piece of skin lesion under local anaesthetic) is required. Then, the piece taken is to be sent and examined by a pathologist under the microscope. Based on the results, the skin lesion may need to be excised surgically. Such surgical excisions are usually scheduled at a separate appointment.
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