Some skin cancers are clinically obvious, but others may be more inconclusive, so when needed, skin biopsies (including shave biopsies, punch biopsies, and excisional biopsies) will be performed to provide further information from pathology analysis. These procedures can often be performed at the time of your initial clinic appointment.
Moles that are suspicious for melanoma as well as moles which need to be removed for other reasons can be removed surgically. This procedure is typically performed at the clinic, but due to space and time constraints, may be scheduled for a future date.
All skin biopsies and specimens that are performed and sent out will be evaluated by a qualified dermatopathologist – a pathologist who specializes in diagnosing disorders of the skin.KRS usually utilizes DHM Sonic Skin pathology provider .
Skin Cancer Surgery/Treatment
Skin cancers can be removed surgically in the office as our doctors specialise in all techniques for removing skin cancer, including standard surgical excision, electro-dissication and curettage.After skin cancer removal repairs , either with simple closure or even more complicated and large defects reconstruction using Skin flaps or grafts. . When appropriate, non-surgical treatments of skin cancer will also be discussed with you, including radiation, cryotherapy, and topical chemotherapy.
After a skin cancer is removed, our staff are well trained to repair the resulting wound. This may include reconstructive surgery when necessary.
Scar revision can also be performed at our clinics to enhance the appearance of a scar resulting from surgery.
Cryotherapy with Liquid Nitrogen
Cryotherapy or “freezing” with liquid nitrogen is an effective way to treat several skin conditions, including Actinic Keratoseswhich are commonly known as “pre-skin cancers”.
Modern technology is producing several new methods of dealing with skin cancer. Nonsurgical treatments can include topical chemotherapy or immunotherapy. These options are only appropriate for certain tumor subtypes, but can be an excellent treatment option when indicated.
Over 1500 Australians die each year from melanoma. With early detection however, melanoma is nearly always curable. How can we ensure that we survive this preventable form of cancer? We need to monitor our skin for any suspicious changes. This includes change in size, colour or symmetry of existing moles and the appearance of new spots that persist for more than a few weeks on the skin.
The Importance of Change
The single most important distinction between melanomas and normal moles is that melanomas change noticeably in size, shape or colour whereas normal moles are stable. Your skin cancer doctor will ask you if you have noticed any change in spots on your skin to help with early detection of skin cancers. Often, as patients, we are unable to provide useful information about change because of having lots of skin spots or because the spot is in a place that we cannot easily see. With large numbers of moles, monitoring becomes even more difficult and unfortunately the more moles we have, the higher our risk of melanoma.
Many melanomas appear as a new spot whilst some begin from a pre-existing mole. Often these changes are too subtle early on for your skin cancer doctor to confidently diagnose melanoma. Comparison with a set of images of the skin during your skin check provides a reliable way to assess whether a change has occurred allowing much earlier detection of a developing melanoma.
Who should have total body photography?
Living under the harsh Australian sun your risk of melanoma is much greater than elsewhere in the world. This is especially true if you have more than 100 moles, have already had a melanoma or have 2 or more close relatives (parents, siblings or children) who have had melanoma. People in these high risk groups should consider the benefits of total body photography for early melanoma detection.
Please remember that the photographs are an aid to medical follow up, not a replacement.
What happens during the photographic Session?
Will my privacy be respected?
Tell me more about the photographs
What is the cost of full body photography?
To help get the most out of your skin check, consider checking your own skin first, so you can point out the skin spots you are concerned about. It is not routine for the doctor to examine your genitals, however skin cancers sometimes do occur in these areas. We encourage you to check your genitals prior to your full body skin check, and the doctor will check any skin spots that you have noticed. We have both male and female doctors available to carry out Full Body Skin Checks.
Please visit the following independent websites on skin self-examination: Cancer Council nsw ,Knowyourownskin and Scanyourskin.
On the day of your skin check it is essential that your skin is not covered by foundation, makeup or nail polish. Any makeup will need to be removed at the practice and if required re-applied after your consultation.
A skin check generally starts with an assessment of your skin cancer risk and a review of your general medical history including any medication. The latter is not only for consideration of your risk of skin cancer, but also for any biopsies or procedures that may be required in the future.
Each doctor has their own routine of executing a skin check, but in general will cover all skin and the use of a hand help skin microscope called a dermatoscope. As above your genitals and breast will not routinely be examined, but let us know if you are concerned about any lesion or if you want any additional skin area examined.
You may wish to have only one spot examined and we will certainly not force you to undergo a full skin examination. We would, however, advise a full skin check as most cancers we find are not detected by the patient.
In the unfortunate case a suspicious lesion is identified, we may carry out a biopsy of this lesion.
It is possible that you have a skin cancer that is undetectable at the time of your skin check. Although most skin cancers take several years to develop or become invasive, some aggressive types can develop in several months. Therefor it is important to keep an eye out for changing lesions in between your skin check and not to become complacent.