We take skin cancer extremely seriously. Should you feel you might be at any risk for a current skin cancer, we prioritise you for same, or next day appointments with our Dermatologists, Skin Cancer GPS or Skin Cancer Nurse practitioners. As you would expect with Australia having the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, dermatologists like those at Skindepth Dermatology play a massive role in the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Medicine arena, with regard to the early detection, treatment and surveillance of skin cancers.
Skin cancers come in three main varieties: Basal Cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma results from intense sun exposure and more recently have been linked to 10 or more visits to the sun bed. Melanomas if not detected early can invade the blood stream, and appear in other areas of the body (metastases). Not all melanomas arise in sun-damaged areas.
Most Australians who have experienced an Aussie upbringing with days on the beach, and sun exposure, will need a skin check at some stage. Some risk factors for skin cancer are:
- Family history of melanoma
- Extensive sun exposure
- Blistering sunburn
- Solarium and sun bed use
- Underlying medical conditions
- Certain immunosuppressive medications
Mole checks involve a thorough assessment of the entire skin for moles or suspicious lesions. Many skin cancers have no symptoms and may not be noticed by a patient, so routine checking is important. A mole check involves undressing and laying down so that a dermatologist may use a dermatoscope to examine all moles, spots and lesions. Sometimes photographs may be taken for surveillance of a lesion, and at times a biopsy may be required to further delineate the nature of a suspicious lesion.
Frequency of skin check depends on risk factors. Usually if you have had a melanoma, skin checks will be 3-6 monthly for a few years. Non melanoma skin cancers require on average 6 monthly skin checks. Yearly skin checks can be done if a patient who has had a skin cancer in the past hasn’t had any for a while. Your dermatologist will advise how frequently you need to be checked.