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Skin Cancer Checks

If something is new or looks different, get it checked.

Early detection of skin cancer is essential to reduce your risk of harm.

At Ministry of Skin we provide a service that aims to identify skin cancers early to ensure best possible outcomes through skin checks, monitoring, biopsies and treatments of any suspicious lesions.

How to Check for Skin Cancer?

At Ministry of Skin we recommend having a skin check with one of our doctors so you can discuss your individual risk factors, understand what to look for, when to seek help and ensure early detection. A skin check by a doctor is commonly recommended every 2-5 years however your individual risk factors may alter this.

To identify a melanoma we are trained to look for changes in a mole.

Moles are not normally present at birth, but develop over your childhood and teenage years. By the age of 25 you should have all the moles you are going to acquire and none of them should be changing or growing. Most people have a signature mole appearance i.e. most moles on their body look similar.

We are therefore more suspicious of any new mole that develops after the age of 25 and a mole that does not fit your signature mole pattern or one that is changing e.g. the ugly duckling. Features to pick in the ugly duckling are changes in a mole’s size, shape or colour or if a mole develops an irregular edge, more than one colour, is itchy or bleeds.

The Australian Cancer Council recommends all adults; particularly those aged 40 and over, should:

  • Develop a regular habit of checking their skin.
  • Get familiar with their skin and what is normal for you.
  • Ensure you check your entire body including areas that are never exposed to the sun.
  • Look for new moles or moles that may have changed in shape, colour, or size – if you notice anything unusual, call the clinic for further assessment.
  • Seek assistance from others or use a mirror to check difficult to see areas such as your back and scalp.

What to Look for When Checking for Skin Cancer?

What to look for, three types of skin cancers you need to check for:

Melanoma

These are the deadliest form of skin cancer that if untreated can spread to other parts of the body and be fatal.

They can initially resemble a mole so can be identified by a new mole that has developed, or a mole that is changing in size, colour, or shape. Some can grow quickly, be raised or bleed.

The most important thing to look for is a NEW or CHANGING MOLE. An ABCDEF Melanoma Detection Guide can be a useful tool to identify a suspicious mole:

Look for the following features and if found we recommend you call the clinic for a doctor to check the mole.

What to Look for When Checking for Skin Cancer?

What to look for, three types of skin cancers you need to check for:

Melanoma

These are the deadliest form of skin cancer that if untreated can spread to other parts of the body and be fatal.

They can initially resemble a mole so can be identified by a new mole that has developed, or a mole that is changing in size, colour, or shape. Some can grow quickly, be raised or bleed.

The most important thing to look for is a NEW or CHANGING MOLE. An ABCDEF Melanoma Detection Guide can be a useful tool to identify a suspicious mole:

Look for the following features and if found we recommend you call the clinic for a doctor to check the mole.

  • A : Asymmetry – If a spot is asymmetrical i.e. if you imaged folding the mole in half, the two sides would not match.
  • B: Border – Be concerned if the spot has an irregular outline.
  • C: Colour – If the mole is changing colour or contains more than one colour such as black, red, brown, white, and grey.
  • D: Diameter – Be suspicious if a mole is growing or is >6mm
  • E: Elevation – If the spot becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
  • F: Feel – If the moles is rough, scaly, ulcerated or bleeds.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

These often develop on sun exposed areas for example the face, ears and hands. They can develop quickly or slowly grow over months. They are usually a thickened red, scaly raised spot that may bleed easily and may be tender to touch. They can look like a non-healing sore.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

These are the commonest form of skin cancer but also the least dangerous. They grow slowly on sun exposure areas such as the face, hands and ears. They usually develop as a red or pale lump that enlarges, often with a central ulcer that never heals.

They can also appear as a flat red scaly area like a patch of eczema that doesn’t respond to eczema treatment and slowly expands in size over time.

It is possible that some normal skin spots can show the above changes, however it is important you get them checked by a doctor. At MoS we have experienced staff highly trained in identifying skin cancers and we use specialised equipment to help in the identification process.

Why Are Regular Skin Cancer Checks Essential?

Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer globally, with approximately 2 in 3 Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. This high prevalence is largely attributed to the ozone hole, resulting in higher levels of UV radiation exposure. Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia with more than 15000 new cases diagnosed each year. Luckily Australia has the highest survival rates for melanoma globally due to early detection and public health initiatives promoting sun safety practices and regular skin checks. Early detection is key to survival and successful treatment. It’s important to get to know your skin and what’s normal for you and have regular skin checks with a trained professional. Regular skin checks ensure any changes can be identified and we catch any cancer at its most treatable stage.

What Happens During a Skin Cancer Check?

Ministry of Skin provides comprehensive skin cancer checks in a safe, comfortable, private environment. Your check will commence with a discussion with the Doctor to identity your concerns and risk factors. The Doctor will then leave the room and ask you to undress down to underwear, make yourself comfortable on a bed and cover yourself with a blanket. On return the Doctor will systematically check your skin by visually assessing the moles with or without a dermatoscope. A dermatoscope is a handheld devise used to assess the pigmentation pattern of each mole. Similar to a microscope. Normal moles have an easily recognised pattern of pigment. Melanomas, not being a mole, do not have these patterns and instead have different identifiers.  Photos may be taken of moles we wish to monitor, with your consent. During this process each part of the body will be uncovered and recovered with the blanket, until the whole body is checked. This comprehensive consult typically lasts about 20 minutes.

How Often Should You Check for Skin Cancer?

The MoS team recommend regular skin checks every two years, as early detection and treatment significantly increase the chances of successful outcomes.

Our doctors may recommend those patients with a higher risk of skin cancer to have skin checks more often. Those with higher risk factors include personal history of sun exposure, personal history of skin cancers, family history of skin cancers, more than 50 moles on a arm, fair skin, blue eyes and or other medical concerns or medications.

After your first skin check the doctor will discuss your personal risk and when they recommend your next check. They will then set up a reminder for this check in our system. When due our team will then contact you via SMS or letter.

However, if you have a spot of concern or notice any changes, we recommend booking in a skin cancer check immediately.

Who to go to for Skin Cancer Check?

Skin cancer is a complex condition that requires accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. A knowledgeable and experienced skin cancer doctor possesses the expertise to identify the subtle signs and symptoms of skin cancer.  By entrusting your skin cancer management to a qualified doctor, you increase your chances of early detection and successful treatment.

We recommend looking for the following when deciding who to see for a skin cancer check:

  • Qualifications: Look for a GP or Doctor who is specifically trained in skin cancer management. They should have relevant certifications and qualifications that demonstrate extra training in this area.
  • Expertise: Consider the doctor’s experience and track record in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.
  • Reputation: Research the doctor’s reputation. Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as family, friends, or other healthcare professionals.

What Are the Next Steps if Something Suspicious Is Found?

Often discovering a suspicious lesion can be a worry. We understand this may be a concern and do our upmost to guide and support you through the next steps.

A suspicious lesion may be something in the grey zone ie: we are not sure whether or not it is a cancer, or we may be able to tell that it is a cancer and what type it may be. Obviously, these scenarios pose differing next steps and support required. Most lesions we find very early and can be managed very simply inhouse.

The first step in management is usually a biopsy. A biopsy is a small procedure where a sample of the lesion is taken and sent to the lab to get a diagnosis. After diagnosis we plan a procedure to fully remove the lesion. In most cases we can again do this in the clinic, but if the lesion is on a complex site e.g.: the nose or is a more serious melanoma we will refer to a specialist. To remove the lesion in full this is usually done via a surgical excision with a local anaesthetic in the clinic. The procedure should be comfortable and you should be able to drive yourself home afterwards. Other treatment options do exist which can be discussed with you during your consultation.

Skin Cancer Clinic – Torquay

Our Expert Team

Led by Dr. Caroline Taylor-Walker, our GPs performing skin cancer checks have completed extra recognised training in skin cancer, skin cancer treatments and lesion removals.

Patient Care and Support

At every stage of your journey, our dedicated team is here to provide support. Our compassionate doctors prioritise your understanding and comfort, taking the time to thoroughly educate you on your condition and address any concerns or inquiries you may have. Whether it’s explaining medical terms, discussing treatment options, or simply offering reassurance, we’re committed to supporting you. Your well-being and peace of mind are our utmost priorities.

Book Your Consultation

At MoS, our skin checks are conveniently quick, taking just 20 minutes of your time, and no referral is needed. You can easily book your appointment online, call us 52616171, or submit an enquiry through our website. Your skin health is our priority, and we’re here to make the process as seamless as possible for you.

Book an appointment online or call the clinic on 5261 6171 to arrange an appointment.

Book an appointment online or call the clinic on 5261 6171 to arrange an appointment.

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