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It's just not SKIN CANCER

Taking care of the largest organ of your body

Drayton Skin Cancer Clinic offers a service that is accessible to all for early detection through skin and spot checks, diagnosis, treatment and management of skin cancers. Our Skin Doctors perform whole-body skin checks for any age group.

Our Skin Cancer clinic doctors have a wealth of knowledge and over ten years of experience in the prevention, detection and treatment of skin cancers and have undergone all additional training necessary in this field of practice. Any odd spots will be studied in closer detail with a dermatoscope; a specialised handheld diagnostic tool where our Doctors are concerned about a spot we can to treat this on-site in our fully equipped minor op theatre rooms. They also have the ability to perform complex procedures such as flaps and grafts, where needed to provide you with the optimal cosmetic outcome from your skin cancer removal.

It is recommended that you have a full skin examination once every 12 months; however, some people should have them more frequently.

Some skin cancer facts

  • Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70
  • About 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world
  • It is estimated that Australia’s occupational exposures cause approximately 200 melanomas and 34,000 other skin cancer types per year.

Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world. More than 11,500 Australian men and women are diagnosed with melanoma each year, and an estimated 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers. Skin cancer accounts for over 80% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia each year.

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People at higher risk of skin cancer are those who have

  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • A large number of moles
  • A compromised immune system or are on immunosuppression medication.
  • A fair skin type and skin colour
  • A history of bad sunburns
  • Spent lots of time outdoors unprotected or work outdoors
  • Suntanned, use or have used solariums and/or sunlamps.

Skin cancer can usually be successfully treated if found early. But without treatment, skin cancer can be deadly.

Key facts

  • Skin cancer occurs when skin cells grow abnormally, usually from too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma — the most dangerous kind.
  • Anyone can get skin cancer, but it is more common in older people, people with fair or freckled skin, or family history.
  • A biopsy can confirm whether your spot or mole is skin cancer, and in many cases remove it altogether.
  • There are several ways to treat skin cancer, depending on the type, its size and location and whether it has spread.
  • Most skin cancers are successfully treated — especially if you find them early.

ABCDE of skin cancer

There are certain characteristics to look for in spots and moles. Remember the ‘ABCDE’ of skin cancer when checking your skin:

  • Asymmetry — does each side of the spot or mole look different to the other?
  • Border — is it irregular, jagged or spreading?
  • Colours — are there several, or is the colour uneven or blotchy?
  • Diameter — look for spots that are getting bigger
  • Evolution — is the spot or mole changing or growing over time?

What causes skin cancer?

Almost all skin cancers in Australia are caused by too much exposure to UV radiation. This is the part of sunlight that causes tanning, sunburn and skin damage over time. UV radiation also comes from non-natural sources such as sunbeds (solariums).

While anyone can get skin cancer, it is more common if you are older. The risk is also higher if you have:

  • previously had skin cancer or have a family history of skin cancer
  • sunspots or irregular moles on your body
  • worked, played a sport or spent leisure time in the sun
  • actively tan or use sunbeds

If you have olive or dark skin, your skin produces more melanin, which protects against UV radiation. However, it’s still possible for you to develop skin cancer.

When should i see my doctor?

It’s important to check your own skin regularly to find any new or changing spots.

See your doctor or dermatologist straight away if you notice any changes to your skin, such as:

  • an ‘ugly duckling’ — a spot that looks or feels different to any others
  • a spot that changes size, shape, colour or texture over time
  • a sore that doesn’t go away after a few weeks
  • a sore that itches or bleeds

Can skin cancer be prevented?

Skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Making sun protection a part of your life, avoiding sunburn, and checking your skin regularly will help prevent further damage to your skin.

Protect your skin from UV radiation and help prevent skin cancer by:

  • Slipping on sun-protective clothing: cover your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body.
  • Slopping on sunscreen that’s rated SPF 30+ or higher, broad-spectrum and water-resistant.
  • Slapping on a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
  • Seeking shade under trees, umbrellas and buildings from direct sunlight and reflective surfaces.
  • Sliding on sunglasses that wrap around your face to protect your eyes and surrounding skin.
  • Staying away from sun lamps, solariums or sunbeds, which emit dangerous levels of UV radiation.

UV radiation from the sun varies depending on the time of day, season, where you live and cloud coverage. Protect your skin whenever UV Index levels are above 3. Use Cancer Council Australia’s free SunSmart app to check the UV Index for your area any time.

Information sourced from Cancer Council Australia and Health Direct.

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