Living in Australia you have a higher risk of skin damage as a result of increased exposure to the sun. Australians have a 2 in 3 chance of developing skin cancer in their lifetime. A simple yearly skin check can detect issues early and can save your life. Melanoma affects about 1 in 30 people in Australia, and kills more than a 1000 people a year.
What is involved in a skin check?
A skin check is the process of screening your skin before you are aware of any symptoms of skin cancer. It involves a visual inspection that helps identify possible skin cancers and lesions. Melanoma Scan skin clinic provides skin cancer screening, diagnosis, management and referral.
A visual inspection of the entire skin surface (usually excluding the areas under underwear) by a doctor or sometimes a specially trained nurse melanographer is conducted. A special imaging device called a dermatoscope is usually used by those who are trained because it markedly improves detection of skin cancers and melanoma in those with the appropriate training and experience.
How often should you get a skin check?
Skin checks are often done at annual intervals but your doctor will advise you on what is an appropriate interval for your individual circumstances. If you have a history of skin cancers or your skin type is susceptible to skin cancers the doctor may recommend that you have a skin check more regularly to ensure early detection of skin cancer.
What happens if the Skin Doctor finds something abnormal?
If an abnormality is found on your skin the doctor may do a biopsy (more often in the case of skin cancers) or make a clinical diagnosis (more often in the case of rashes). The biopsy will help guide management of the lesion in the case of a skin cancer, and often an excisional biopsy may be all that is needed to completely remove the cancer. In the case of a rash, a treatment may be prescribed and a review time made to assess if the treatment has been effective
Preparing for your skin check?
A skin check includes a full, detailed examination of your whole body. As such make sure you are wearing clothing that is easily removed and you remove any makeup before coming to the skin check appointment.
You should consider the following and be ready to tell the skin doctor before the beginning of the examination.
- Are they any moles and rough patches of skin you are particularly concerned about
- Do you have any new moles, spots or bumps that you have not noticed previously
- Is there a particularly area of skin that is consistently itchy, red, or dry with flaky skin
- Medical history including medications you are taking
- Any family history of skin cancers or melanoma
Do you need to undress for a skin check?
It is normal to undress down to underwear for a skin check. Your doctor may provide a modesty sheet to cover areas not being examined so you are not completely exposed for the whole examination. A chaperone is usually available if you prefer. Most clinics have a female doctor for patients that prefer to see a female.
Why you need a skin check?
Early skin cancer detection can save your life. Having a regular skin cancer check allows for the detection and resulting removal and treatment of an precancerous skin lesions and spots. Early detection of skin cancers can often result in simple, in-house procedures to remove the spot with the resulting biopsy indicating if further treatment is required.