About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. 90% of skin cancers are due to overexposure to UV light, either from the sun or solariums. Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when damaged skin cells do not replicate correctly during the normal course of repair.
These new irregular cells can trigger DNA mutations or genetic defects that multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
The best way to survive skin cancer is early diagnosis and treatment.
- Skin cancers account for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.
- Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
- Melanoma is the most common cancer in people aged 15-44 years.
- Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma is the third most common cancer in both women and men.
- One in seventeen Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 85.
To combat the alarming incidence of skin cancers in the country, it is highly advisable to undergo a skin cancer screening test annually. For individuals at higher risk, more frequent screenings are recommended to catch any potential issues early on.
Skin Cancer Check
Detecting skin cancers early is crucial for effective treatment and patient outcomes. A full-body skin check is a comprehensive assessment that plays a vital role in uncovering potential skin issues that may have gone unnoticed. We highly recommend this thorough examination for all our patients.
During the 10-15 minute skin check, our experienced doctors will inspect your skin from head to toe, using specialised equipment (dermatoscope) to identify any abnormal skin spots with unusual shapes or colours. To ensure a proper examination, we kindly ask you to undress to your underwear. To facilitate accurate assessments, we ask that you avoid wearing nail polish, make-up, or fake tan when you come in for your skin examination. These products can conceal spots and make them harder to detect, potentially delaying diagnosis and treatment.
If you have a full head of hair, the doctors will still examine your scalp, even though skin cancer of the scalp is rare. However, long hair might hinder a complete scalp examination. To enable a thorough inspection, we recommend having a haircut before your skin check.
Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and a full-body skin check is an invaluable tool in the early detection and management of potential skin cancers. We encourage you to schedule a skin check regularly to maintain your skin health.
Skin Cancer Types
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
It is the most common type of skin cancer by far, but also the least dangerous. It grows slowly and rarely spreads. Though BCC is seldom life-threatening, if left untreated it can grow deep beneath the skin and into the underlying tissue and bone, causing serious damage (particularly if it's located near the eye).
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
It is the next most common kind of skin cancer, frequently appearing on the lips, face, or ears. It sometimes spreads to distant sites, including lymph nodes and internal organs. It can become life threatening if it's not treated.
It is the least common, but the most dangerous type of skin cancer. If discovered early enough, it can be completely cured. If it's not treated quickly, however, malignant melanoma may spread throughout the body and is often deadly.
Skin Cancer Treatment
Most skin cancers are removed surgically.
Although no surgery is without scars, your doctor will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance.
Most procedures performed in our clinic include:
This involves spraying liquid nitrogen onto the skin. The aim is to freeze and destroy the tissue.
Curettage and electrodesiccation (diathermy)
This involves scraping away skin tissue with a curette (a sharp surgical instrument), followed by cauterising the wound with an electrosurgical diathermy to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Excision is made with a scalpel and the wound is usually stitched after.
A skin biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of skin tissue is removed, processed, and examined under a microscope. Sometimes, different skin conditions can look similar to the naked eye so additional information is required. This is obtained by looking at the structure of the skin under the microscope after the cells have been stained with special coloured dyes.