SKIN CHECKS AND SKIN CANCER

Our Dermatologists provide skin cancer services, skin checks and mole checks. We are experts in the early detection and treatment of skin cancer. Feel safe and stay healthy with our modern technology and advanced treatment.

With Australia having one of the highest melanoma rates in the world, it is estimated that 2 out of 3 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they turn 70. Australians have an extremely high rate of skin cancer because of our environment and lifestyle. Skin checks are recommended for the early detection of skin cancers and melanoma. Detecting melanoma early is important, as this is when it is most treatable.

Kew Dermatology offers full body skin cancer screening and skin checks by specialist Dermatologists. In Australia, Dermatologists have the most rigorous training in expert diagnosis and skin cancer detection and are the recognised experts by Medicare and AHPRA.

WHO SHOULD GET SKIN CHECKS?

Having regular skin checks by Dermatologists at Kew Dermatology can detect skin cancers in their early stages. Treatment of skin cancers at an early stage is simpler than lesions, which have been left for years.

Regular skin checks are especially important for people with the following conditions:

  • Reduced immunity
  • Very fair complexion
  • Strong family history of skin cancer and melanoma
  • History of skin cancer
  • Multiple instances of sun spots and sunburns
  • Multiple abnormal-looking moles
  • Experience of using solariums
  • History of sunbaking

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING A SKIN CHECK?

During your visit with our Dermatologist for a skin check, a careful and complete examination of your skin will be done as a part of your routine cancer-related check-up. Your Dermatologist will answer all your questions about the examination. The entire skin will be examined, including the hair, nails and mucosal surfaces if needed. An appropriate light source and magnification may be used to distinguish lesions and rashes. 

Some of the specialised skin examination techniques include:

  • Dermoscopy, used to diagnose melanoma and abnormal moles
  • Skin biopsy
  • Dermoscopic photographs
  • Full body photographs

Our Dermatologists will assess your skin as a whole and, in addition to detecting skin cancers early, can advise on other skin problems found during your skin check, such as rashes and acne.

FURTHER QUESTIONS

What Should I Expect After A Skin Check?

If any suspicious lesions are detected during your routine skin check, further diagnostic tests, (such as a skin biopsy) may be advised. Based on the results of these tests, a treatment plan is suggested which may include either nonsurgical methods or surgical removal of the lesion.

In addition to our Dermatologist’s skin examination, we advise regular skin self-examination at home. If you find any new or changing skin lesion in between appointments, contact our clinic or your GP for a review immediately. The Cancer Council has some guidelines https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html on skin self-exams at home.

How Does A Dermatologist Differ From A Skin Cancer Specialist?

Dermatologists are the specialist doctors recognised by Medicare to provide expert diagnosis and management of skin disorders. All Dermatologists who are fellows of the Australasian College of Dermatologists https://www.dermcoll.edu.au/ have had extensive clinical training over many years in the diagnosis and management of skin cancers, including skin surgical procedures.

After working for several years as a doctor, an aspirant Dermatologist must compete for a training position (these are limited to a set number around Australia each year), and once they are awarded a place on the training program undertakes at least 4 additional years of full-time study and examinations to become a qualified Dermatologist in Australia. A Dermatologist becomes a member of the Australasian College of Dermatologists only after an extensive and rigorous examination process at the end of 4 years of speciality training. Dermatologists are required to maintain an extremely high standard of ongoing education after receiving their speciality training to remain fellows of the college.

You may come across skin cancer clinics staffed with doctors having qualifications such as membership in a college of skin cancer medicine or a diploma in practical or clinical dermatology. These are NOT specialist qualifications and are not recognised as such by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or Medicare. The training associated with these qualifications is aimed at GPs and usually involves a short fee-paying course requiring several days to weeks.

How Long Is The Waiting List To Consult A Dermatologist?

At Kew Dermatology, we have specific appointments for skin checks and review of urgent spots. If you have a very urgent condition, an urgent referral form may be downloaded and sent directly to our clinic by your GP. An example of an urgent case is suspected melanoma, or a tumour, which is growing very quickly. Lesions on the nose, ears, and lips are also treated more urgently. For these situations, we can arrange an urgent appointment usually within 2 working days.

To check the available appointments, please ring our receptionists at (03) 9853 2111.

Do you bulk-bill skin checks?

At Kew Dermatology, we provide you with the best possible service and outcome for your skin health. This involves taking sufficient time to plan and discuss your treatments as well as providing a professional environment and consulting rooms with specialised equipment for your treatment. Due to the high costs incurred in running a specialist medical practice, we do not bulk-bill our appointments.

If you get a referral letter from your GP, it is possible to claim a portion of the fees back from Medicare. This enables us to keep your GP informed regarding your treatment course as we always send a report back to your GP following your visit.

For patients who have extensive skin cancer and require multiple treatments or visits to the clinic, we consider the costs incurred and try to limit your out-of-pocket expenses.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs patients (veterans) with appropriate cover are treated without out-of-pocket costs. If you have further questions regarding appointments or fees, feel free to call our reception staff at (phone).

Can I have photos taken?

We have access to a fully equipped photographic studio at Kew Dermatology for full-body photography. Not all patients require this during their ongoing skin survey. Patients who can benefit from this service are those with several irregular moles and those who find difficulty in monitoring their skin at home. Fullbody photography needs a separate appointment, at a different clinic, and lasts for at least 30 minutes. If only one area of the body requires a photo, then your dermatologist will take it during your skin check visit at Kew Dermatology.

Who qualifies for a Medicare rebate?

If you bring a referral form from your GP, you are eligible to claim from Medicare a portion of the consultation fee, which is currently $72.75 for new patients.

What Are Sun Spots?

Sun Spots are small, scaly rough areas of skin that may be red or feel like sandpaper. They are also known as Actinic Keratosis (AK) or Solar Keratosis. They will usually occur along with other signs of photodamage, including wrinkling and uneven pigment in the skin.

Actinic Keratosis develops in areas of chronically sun-damaged skin. These lesions are considered pre-cancerous and should be treated to prevent progression to skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma.

What Do Sunspots Look Like?

Sunspots can be solitary or multiple keratoses. They can be white, yellow, red, tan, brown or pigmented. The size of the lesion typically ranges from 2 to 6 millimetres in diameter.

How Are Sun Spots Treated?

Cryotherapy

At Kew Dermatology we can treat a small number of lesions in a localised area using liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy the area of sun damage. This is a very quick procedure that our Dermatologists can perform during your appointment. The lesion may blister or be red for up to 10 days after the treatment.

 

Prescription cream

For treatment of larger areas of sunspots your Dermatologist may recommend applying a cream (such as Efudix, Aldara or Picato) to affected areas, for example your forehead or the backs of your hands. This allows treatment of a larger area of your skin than what can be accomplished with Cryotherapy.

Treatment lasts for a 2 to 6 week interval and must be prescribed by your Dermatologist. After several days of application, the sunspots will become red and inflamed. This will continue for a few weeks after the cream has been discontinued. The redness can be very intense and may require some planning to determine convenient times to do the treatment. Treatment may be prescribed in winter because some treatments make you sun-sensitive.

 

Photodynamic Therapy

 

Kew Dermatology offers photodynamic therapy for the treatment of sun spots and early skin cancers. This therapy targets the skin condition by combining energy and a cream medication to create a chemical reaction. Before the photodynamic therapy, your lesion will be marked out and the scales or crusting gently scraped. The special cream will then be applied and covered with a dressing. This stays in place for 3 hours before it is removed and the bright light is irradiated onto your lesion.

To minimise any pain you may feel during photodynamic therapy, local anaesthetic is provided and cool air are blown onto the treatment area. A follow up appointment with your Dermatologist is needed a few weeks after treatment to monitor your healing and check if any new skin lesions have occurred.

 

Sunscreens and prevention

Avoiding the sun and regularly using a high-SPF sunscreen can effectively limit further skin damage and development of sun spots. Broad-spectrum sunscreens, which provide protection from UVA and UVB rays, are the best, and you should use one with at least an SPF of 30+.

A few ingredients found in cosmetics can minimize sun damage over the long term. These include prescription vitamin A, glycolic acid and Niacinamide / vitamin B3. You can consult with our nurses to obtain advice on suitable products with appropriate concentrations of these protective ingredients.

Although an important part of sun protection for your skin, sunscreens cannot replace sensible avoidance of the sun and wearing protective gear, such as hats, clothing and sunglasses. Our clinic stocks a selection of the better-quality sunscreens on the market, and our staff would be pleased to offer advice and explain the important aspects of their application at your next clinic visit.

To check the available appointments, please ring our receptionists at (03) 9853 2111.