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Skin Cancers and Mole Mapping Melbourne

Skin Cancer Management

Skin checks, model 01, Essence Cosmetic Medicine Melbourne

Skin Cancers and Mole Mapping Melbourne

Skin cancers are one of the most common malignancies in Australia. Affecting patients from young age till elderly, 1 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer throughout their lifetime. 

They occur due to mutations in the cells DNA that trigger an abnormal cellular growth, and are caused by different reasons:

  • Genetic factors 

For example:

    • Family history 
    • Skin type
  • Environmental factors 

For example:

    • Sun exposure
    • Smoking 
    • UV radiation from solariums 

Promptly identifying a skin cancer and providing adequate treatment is key for the chance of survival for some types of skin cancers like Melanoma. For this reason, it is vital that regular skin checks are performed. 

Sometimes to see a dermatologist may take months! And for this reason, GPs are actually the mainstay of skin cancer identification in Australia due to ease of access. The Skin Cancer College of Australia has developed numerous courses for GPs to become experts in identification of skin cancers so that patients can have rapid and efficient access, changing dramatically the outcome of the effect of skin cancers in mortality. 

What are skin cancers?

Skin cancers are abnormal growth of skin cells that suffers mutation, normally due to some form of aggression like UV/sun exposure. They can occur on any part of the body, but are more common on sun exposed areas. 

Depending on what type of skin cell is affected, the type of skin cancer will be different, and so will the repercussions. 

Skin cancer checks 01, Essence Healthcare Melbourne

What are the types of skin cancers?

There are basically 3 types of skin cancers:

Non Melanoma Skin cancers (NMSCs)

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
    • This is the most common type of skin cancer and is almost exclusive to sun exposed areas. 
    • They are usually slow growing and can be present sometimes for years before noticed by patient
    • Sometimes it is not noticed at all by the patient and is only identified during a skin cancer check with a skin cancer trained Dr such as at Essence Healthcare
    • It is the least aggressive and normally treatment will mean complete resolution 
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) 
    • Somewhat more aggressive than BCCs, SCCs are also much more common on sun exposed areas
    • It can be slow growing, but some forms develop very rapidly
    • They have a higher chance of spreading to distant areas than BCCs and sometime will need further specialized intervention
    • Most of the times prompt identi fication and treatment will mean complete resolution

AND:

  • Melanoma
    • Melanomas are the most dangerous types of skin cancers and one of the most dangerous types of cancers in general
    • They are usually very rapid growing and spread easily to distant areas such as brain and lungs
    • It is one of the most common types of cancers in younger adults and responsible for death in a large proportion of young patients
    • It can be hard to identify even to the expert eyes of a skin cancer trained Dr 
    • Early identification and treatment is vital for patient’s survival chances 

What are the symptoms of skin cancers?

Unfortunately, most of the times skin cancers don’t cause any symptoms! But when they do, the symptoms can be varied and depend on the type of skin cancer.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Development of a new and rapidly changing mole
  • Changes within an old/existing mole (a mole that you may have always had, but now seems different or changing)
  • An abnormally shaped mole 
  • A mole that becomes lumpy 
  • A mole that is itching 
  • A mole that bleeds easily 
  • A ‘pimple’ that does not heal 
  • A scab that does not get better and go away 

How can I identify skin cancer?

Identifying a skin cancer can sometimes be a difficult task even for the expertly trained Doctor!

The best way to identify any sort of skin cancer is by performing regular skin checks with an expertly trained Doctor such as Dr Lucas de Siqueira. 

The procedure is called a skin check or mole mapping. During this consultation, the Doctor will use a special instrument called a dermatoscope, which has a special type of polarized light and image augmentation (similar to a handheld microscope) that facilitates observation and identification of abnormal structures within a skin lesion that may mean this lesion is a skin cancer. 

The doctor will then look at every single skin lesion/mole and asses if any need to be removed or treated. 

Even though skin checks performed by the Doctor are vital, knowing your skin is vital when it comes to prompt identification and treatment and will mean that you have better chances of survival if a lesion is indeed malignant. 

There are a few algorithms that may indicate whether a mole should be checked or not, such as the ABCDE:

  • A – Asymmetry 
    • If a mole is symmetrical or asymmetrical (meaning one side is different to the other side of the mole) 
  • B – borders
    • If a mole has regular well defined borders or if the borders are uneven and jagged 
  • C – colours
    • If a mole has only one colour (red, brown, black etc) or if there are multiple colours within the same mole
  • D – diameter 
    • If a mole is over 2mm in diameter or if it is growing 
  • E – Evolution 
    • If a mole is changing rapidly 
    • Changes may include:
      • Changes in shape
      • Changes in colour
      • Changes in size
      • Changes in texture
      • Itching 
      • Bleeding 
      • Or any other change that you identify as being new or different to usual 

How are the treatments for skin cancers?

Once identified, the Doctor will recommend treatment for the skin cancer that has been identified. The treatments for skin cancers will depend on a few factors:

  • Type of skin cancer
    • Non Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSCs) 
    • Melanomas
  • Location of skin cancer
  • Extension/size of lesion 

For Non Melanoma Skin Cancers, possible treatments are:

  • Surgical removal (gold standard) 
  • Cryotherapy 
  • Topical Chemotherapy (creams) 
  • Radio ablation 
  • Shave removal 
  • Electrosurgery 

For Melanoma Skin Cancers, treatment should always be surgical!

How can I prevent skin cancers?

The optimal goal when talking about skin cancers is prevention, not treatment!

Some factors cannot be changed, such as genetic factors and family history. 

But some factors can!

The key preventable methods are:

SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SLIDE AND SHADE

  • Reduce sun exposure
  • Seek shade when sunny 
  • Apply sunscreen daily 
  • Use sunglasses
  • Use hats 
  • Use long sleeves and pants when exposed to the sun 

Why have your skin check at Essence Healthcare?

At Essence Healthcare, Dr Lucas de Siqueira has been providing expert skin cancer checks/mole mapping for over 10 years, and has identified and treated thousands of patients who unfortunately were afflicted with the malignancy. He has become known in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne as a leading expert in the field, and conducts the checks on a daily basis at our clinic. 

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