Unfortunately, Australia’s abundant sunshine puts us all at greater risk of developing skin cancer. The good news is that early detection can help you pick up potential issues before they cause real harm. We’re here to help.
All of our doctors are trained in the early detection and treatment of skin cancer. Learn about what to look out for below and if you are at all concerned, book an appointment (please avoid the use of nail polish and make-up before your appointment).
Who is at greatest risk of skin cancers?
Some people are more likely to get skin cancer than others – although that’s not to say that you’re not at risk if these things don’t apply to you. Risk factors include:
Pale skin colour
Long periods of time spent outdoors
History of repeated sunburn
Higher density of moles
Personal history of skin cancer
Family history of melanoma
What should you look out for between skin checks?
Skin cancers are extremely varied in appearance and can sometimes be hard to spot. That’s why a skin check with a trained professional is the best way to detect skin cancers early.
That said, you might be able to spot differences in your skin yourself. If you notice a sore that doesn’t heal, a mole or freckle that seems to be changing size or shape, a spot that stands out and looks different, or a new mole that wasn’t there before, you should book an appointment for a skin check.
How often you come in for a skin check can depend on your history and overall risk.
Regular skin checks are generally not needed until adulthood. However, skin cancers can occur at any age, so if you notice something on your child’s skin that you are unsure about, it is worthwhile having it checked.
What can I do to prevent skin cancer?
Wear sun protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible
Apply broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outdoors and then every two hours afterwards
Wear a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears
Seek shade in the middle hours of the day
Wear sun glasses that meet Australian standards
What happens if the doctor finds a skin lesion that needs treatment?
Treatment for skin cancer varies and is dependent on the type of skin cancer.
Some skin cancers can be effectively treated with locally acting creams or cryotherapy. Other skin cancers require a surgical excision procedure either to remove a sample of the lesion to clarify the type of skin cancer or to remove the whole lesion.
Our doctors can help you with either type of treatment.
If a lesion is identified as needing excision, we’ll organise a time for you to return so this can be performed in our specialist treatment room at Denmark Medical Centre. If the excision is more complex, we can refer you directly to a specialist.