Skin Checks

Many people in Australia worry about skin cancer - with reason! We have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Anyone with a risk factor for skin cancer should consider getting a whole body skin examination. Skin cancers can appear even on areas of the body that are not exposed to the sun. Risk factors include:

  • A relative who has had a melanoma, or other forms of skin cancer
  • A fair skin that burns easily
  • Sunburns in the past, particularly at a young age and if severe such as causing blisters
  • A past history of a skin cancer of any type
  • Large number of moles

During a skin check we will normally ask you to undress down to your underwear. You will lie on the examination couch and the doctor will examine your skin using a Dermlite Lumio which magnifies and illuminates the skin. Any lesions needing further detailed examination will be checked with a dermatoscope, which allow the doctor to see the patterns within the spot with a remarkable amount of detail. Several studies have shown that doctors trained in the use of dermoscopy have a high degree of accuracy in detecting skin cancers. If you know there is a mole that the doctor has not seen (perhaps under the underwear) you should let them know so they can examine this also.

Any lesion which appears to be suspicious will be noted. The doctor will discuss with you the need for a biopsy (where a small part of the lesion is sent for pathological examination) or excision (where the lesion is removed). Some moles require only observation, which may involve the use of digital photography to monitor the mole.

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