Skin Cancer Checks

Gladstone Park Medical Clinic Skin Cancer Checks.

Skin cancer is considered as one of the most persistent forms of cancer around the world. It may affect any age group and can turn out to be deadly if not treated appropriately. Any over 40 years of age adults living in Australia, it is essential to have annual examinations constantly in order to spot any problems early.

At Gladstone Park Medical Clinic, we aim to make sure that our patients feel comfortable during the whole examination process. A full skin check takes approximately 30 minutes, based on the number and complexity of spots and if further tests or treatment need to be performed.

A brief Skin Check takes 15 minutes.

Prior to the skin examination process, we will take a detailed history of your skin, including family history of skin cancer. There are various known risk factors for the development of skin cancer. You may be asked to point out any new or changing spots of concern.

Your skin is thoroughly inspected from head to toe with the help of a handheld digital dermatoscope to evaluate your moles. Any spots needing further attention can be photographed under magnification. This will typically encompass examination on your scalp, face, neck, torso front as well as back, arms and legs. Your underwear (together with the bra in females) will remain on during the assessment, but you will be asked if there are any new or changing spots of concern under these garments.

With the benefit of digital dermoscopy, we can take images of skin lesions, and compare them to images taken on your next visit to track any changes. This will provide additional information to your doctor in determining whether a skin lesion may require further investigation.

As part of the skin check we may identify spots that requires a biopsy (a skin sample), which will be sent to pathology for further assessment.

Why should I undergo a skin cancer check?

Skin cancer is considered one of the most common conditions in Australia. With 2 in 3 Australians are likely to develop some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. These will range from basal cell carcinomas to squamous cell carcinomas, to the more dangerous melanomas.

Prevention is always better than cure. Thankfully, most of these cancers can be treated easily if detected and treated early before they have become invasive.

What can be done to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer?

Avoid sunburn. In Australia we are lucky to live in a country of beautiful beaches and nature; we love spending time outdoors with our hobbies and sports. However, we need to be sensible about our sun exposure.

In most circumstances, you should wear sunscreen daily whenever the UV index is above 3. In Melbourne, this is generally between the hours of 11am-3pm in the warmer months.  Sunscreen should be broad spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen and needs to be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every 4 hours. In addition, you should wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and stay in the shade where possible.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, either in the past or currently, it is highly advisable you have a skin cancer check every year.

Family history of skin cancers is also an important risk factor.