It’s been a cloudy spring so far in Sydney, but weather is no excuse to put off a skin cancer check. Early intervention can save your life, and having a skin cancer check can be a positive learning opportunity.
Skin Cancer checks involve much more than a professional eye on your skin. Before beginning the check, your doctor will discuss a relevant, focussed history with you. This involves asking about your family history, your personal history and your exposure to common risk factors. Our doctors will also discuss risk factors that are not as widely known, and provide advice on how you can do a thorough check on yourself at home.
Next comes a thorough examination of your skin, including your scalp, your eyelids, between your fingers and toes, and your underarms. Our doctors use a dermascope to closely examine spots, lesions and moles for any irregularities or signs for concern. Our doctors will also take a magnified, high-definition photo of anything that could be cause for concern so that it can be digitally saved and monitored.
If there is anything that looks suspicious, the doctor will give a professional opinion based on skin cancer guidelines, evidence and experience, and discuss your options. Most often, the doctor will recommend that you either monitor the spot and review it in a specified time frame, do a biopsy or remove it.
If you monitor the spot and there is any change between the initial check-up and the time of review, your doctor will usually recommend a biopsy or removal. When spots are removed, they are also sent to a lab to be tested.
The magnified photos assist in monitoring for potential changes and recording anything with a suspicious appearance. We believe in empowering our patients to take charge of their health, so our doctors will also send you your magnified photos. This way, you will have easy access if you want to get a second opinion or use them as a reference if you’ve been advised to keep an eye on a spot and monitor for changes before your next visit.
Biopsy and many removals can be done by our doctors right here in the clinic, but for some removals, our doctor may refer you to another facility with different equipment available. It will depend on your specific situation, the nature of the lesion and your needs, all of which you can discuss in detail with your doctor. At Specialist Clinics of Australia we encourage questions from our patients.