Skin Cancer Checks
Our skin cancer screening assists in detecting skin growths that are either benign (non-cancerous), precancerous or cancerous and provides intervention strategies that reduce the risk of future skin cancer lesions.
Our skin cancer doctors are highly qualified, experienced clinicians and are equipped with an advanced skin cancer screening tool—the dermatoscope. The dermatoscope allows our skin cancer doctors to closely inspect moles and other skin growths up to 2 mm below the skin’s surface, providing an accurate view of the structure and characteristics of each lesion.
As part of our holistic approach to your ongoing skin health, you will be provided with a Skin Cancer Information Sheet explaining simple and effective ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Skin Cancer Screening
A full body screen is highly recommended as skin cancer can occur in areas that are not generally exposed to the sun, such as the soles of the feet. This screening generally takes 15–20 minutes, and during your screening, the skin cancer doctor will conduct a ‘head-to-toe’ examination, assessing all moles, sunspots and other growths for abnormalities.
When a suspicious skin lesion is identified, there are two treatment pathways. The first pathway involves the surgical removal of the suspicious lesion by cutting it out and sending it for a pathology examination. Our skin cancer doctors will review the pathology report to determine if any further action is required.
The second pathway involves monitoring the skin lesion through photographic imaging and quarterly patient follow-up skin checks. Regular monitoring of a lesion enables our skin cancer doctors to identify any changes within the lesion structure and overall lesion presentation. This treatment pathway is often used when a suspicious lesion has been identified on the face and the patient does not want to incur the scarring usually associated with surgical intervention.
Laser Removal of Benign Moles and Other ‘Lumps & Bumps’
Moles and other skin lesions that are assessed as benign (non-cancerous) can be removed safely and effectively in a matter of minutes by our laser practitioners. Benign moles can be removed from any part of the body, including the face and neck. The use of our laser technology for mole removal means there is no cutting or associated scarring and very little downtime.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer can be defined as abnormal cell growth that presents itself as a skin growth or tumour. The growth of abnormal cells is often caused by reoccurring sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
The most common types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of skin cancer and can spread quickly if left untreated.
What are the early signs of skin cancer?
The symptoms of skin cancer can vary depending on the type of skin cancer lesion:
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
BCC’s can appear as a subtle, raised, reddish, dry, scaly patch on the skin’s surface, which can also contain fragments of brown or black. BCC’s are commonly found in the topmost skin layers and tend to grow slowly over months or even years. They are very unlikely to spread throughout the body. BCC’s can usually be safely and effectively treated.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
SCC is a skin cancer that is found in the deeper part of the top skin layer. An SCC can appear as a flat or raised, scaly red or brown lump, often found on a sun-exposed area such as the face, neck, hands, forearms and legs. An SCC will often have a crusted sore or central depression within the lesions. SCC’s are easily identified and can be successfully treated if detected in the early growth stage. When an SCC is left untreated, it will likely grow and can become dangerous and even life-threatening.
Melanoma is an aggressive type of skin cancer that originates from skin cells called melanocytes (cells responsible for skin pigmentation). One misconception is that melanoma only forms where sun exposure has occurred, but this is not accurate. For example, melanoma can grow under fingernails and on the soles of the feet or any other part of the body.
Note: It is important that you regularly check your skin for new moles; moles that have changed colour, shape or size; and moles that bleed or become very itchy or painful.
Does UV damage cause skin cancer?
Skin cancer originates in the top layer of the skin, knowns as the epidermis. UV radiation from the sun can penetrate the skin, causing short and long-term damage.
Usually, the body can repair UV radiation damage when exposed to it. However, with repeated sun exposure, the body may not be able to repair the damage, and the skin cells will divide and become abnormal, potentially leading to a skin cancer lesion.
What are the advantages of a skin cancer check?
If you find a new mole or lesion or if an existing mole or lesion has changed colour or shape, contact our clinic immediately to schedule a skin cancer check with one of our skin cancer doctors. In the absence of finding any suspicious moles yourself, a regular 12 monthly skin cancer check is strongly recommended. Neglecting regular skin cancer checks increases the risk of skin cancer moles and lesions progressing to serious and potentially life-threatening stages.
How can I minimise my risk of skin cancer?
Given that one of the most common causing of skin cancer is sun exposure, ensure that you are sun savvy by wearing adequate attire and sunscreen and only spend short periods in the sun. In addition, avoid tanning beds as they have been linked to skin cancer.
We provide additional information on how to best minimise the risk of skin cancer in our Skin Cancer Information Sheet, which you will receive during your initial consultation.