Skin Check

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells that can occur when we are exposed to the sun’s rays. In Queensland, we are known for our stunning weather but spending time outdoors also means harsh UV exposure and the risk of developing skin cancer. As Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates globally, putting your health first with regular skin checks will result in early diagnosis and more successful treatment of any potential lesions. Not only does this help you manage your skin and healthcare needs, but it also reduces the amount of intervention you could potentially need.

What is a Skin Cancer Check?

 

A skin cancer check is performed by the skin cancer specialist doctors at Bayside Cosmetic Medicine Clinic. It is a screening procedure in which our experienced practitioners will comprehensively examine your entire skin, particularly the areas that receive the most sun exposure, including the face, ears, neck, scalp, arms and legs. Skin checks usually last 15-20 minutes. You will be required to undress to your underwear and a blanket will be provided for your comfort. Genital areas are not routinely examined, however skin cancers can develop in any body areas, so inform your doctor about any spots you are concerned about under your underwear.

 

The doctor will only check these areas if you ask them to do so. To detect skin cancer and skin cancer precursors, a specialized tool (dermatoscope) helps the doctor see beneath the skin and to identify suspicious changes. Along with a physical check, clinical photography may be used for follow up of skin lesions. It is important to have a skin check regularly by a skin cancer specialist doctor at least once a year, or more frequently if you are at higher risk or have had skin cancer previously. Routine self-checks can be used to monitor your own skin in between checks, but cannot be relied upon to catch every concerning spot.

What are the Types of Skin Cancer?

 

Skin cancer falls into two main categories, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). NMSCs include squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Melanomas are usually found in areas most exposed to the sun but may also be present anywhere on the body, including the palms and soles of the feet. If a mole bleeds, changes in color or size, itches or burns, or is new, it needs to be immediately checked. BCCs are the most common type of skin cancer and usually present as waxy or pearly nodules and may be sore and scab and bleed. SCCs may present as crusty, painful, red lumps.

What are the common signs and symptoms of Skin Cancer?

  • sores that do not heal
  • constant itchiness
  • new bumps or lumps
  • new or changing moles

The ABCDE of skin cancer

 

If you have a mole or skin growth, watch it for signs of below changes. If you notice any of the ABCDEs of melanoma, make an appointment right away to be evaluated by a skin cancer specialist .

  • Asymmetry Melanoma is often asymmetrical, which means the shape isn’t uniform.
  • Border – Melanoma often has borders that aren’t well defined or are irregular in shape
  • Color – Melanoma lesions are often more than one color or shade.
  • Diameter – Melanoma growths are normally larger than 6mm in diameter, which is about the diameter of a standard pencil.
  • Evolution – Melanoma will often change characteristics, such as size, shape or color. Unlike most benign moles, melanoma tends to change over time.

How Do I Prepare for My Skin Check?

 

To help your doctor check the areas that are prone to UV exposure, it is best to wear light clothing or clothing that you can easily remove, especially around your arms and legs. Please avoid wearing fake tan, make up or nail polish as they can disguise lesions and make them more difficult to pick up. Your doctor will guide you through the process and will advise you on any suspicious lesions or changes in the skin while performing an assessment.

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

 

Prevention of skin cancer is better than cure. You can reduce your risk of skin cancer with the following steps:

  • Avoid UV radiation between 10 am-3 pm when the UV index is highest
  • Slip-on a long-sleeved UV protection shirt
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection
  • Regular skin checks

Following these steps will significantly reduce your UV exposure and risk of sunburn and subsequent skin cancers.

Call us today!

We recommend a consultation at the clinic with one of our highly trained specialists for an individualised skin plan to give you the radiant skin that you have been longing for