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FAQ – Skin Check Brisbane

Skin Checks Brisbane – The Facts

Who should get their skin checked?

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Anyone who is fair skinned or with a family history of skin cancer. People who have had significant UV exposure in the present or past should also have their skin checked.  Did you know that Brisbane has the highest rate of skin cancer in the World?

What does a skin cancer look like?

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Skin cancers can look like innocent lesions such as warts, flat moles, or persistent red spots. The biggest clue to a clinical diagnosis of a skin cancer is a changing lesion or a new persistent lesion. Remember, skin cancers are not just black moles, they can resemble warts, or even flat red patches. Your skin cancer doctor can give you a diagnosis, or if in doubt, conduct a biopsy.

What should I do if I notice a mole changing?

r3Consult a doctor confident and experienced in diagnosing skin lesions- this includes your local GP, a skin cancer doctor, or a Dermatologist. Changing moles, including symptoms such as itch, pain or bleeding, can be an early sign of skin cancer or melanoma. Never ignore changing moles.

Why does Brisbane have such a high incidence of skin cancer?

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Brisbane has one of the highest Skin Cancer rates in the World. The hard facts are- one in 16 residents will develop a melanoma in their life, and one in three Queenslanders will develop a skin cancer.

Brisbane’s high UV exposure and our outdoor lifestyle are the major contributors to the development of skin cancer and sundamage.

What is involved in a mole check?

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Mole checks are conducted by trained skin cancer doctors using a combination of methods including history taking and a clinical examination.

Skin cancer doctors also use a special method of examining moles ‘under the microscope’ called dermatoscopy.

How common are skin cancers and solar keratosis?

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Very. 1 in 16 Queenslanders will develop a Melanoma; one in three residents will develop non-melanoma skin cancer. One in two Caucasian patients over the age of 40 will exhibit solar keratosis- an early marker for sun damage and pre cancer. The Sunshine State of Queensland enjoys brilliant weather for most of the year, but also predisposes their residents to skin cancer.

How are skin cancers diagnosed?

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Skin cancers can be diagnosed clinically (examination), however a firm diagnosis is made on histology. This means the lesion, or a sample of skin is sent away for testing under the microscope.

My Skin Cancer Centre doctors employ thorough Dermatoscopic examination to assist in the diagnosis of skin cancers, including Melanomas.

Our Clinic

How are we different from your General Practitioner?

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The Skin Cancer Doctors at My Skin Clinic have a Special interest in managing skin cancer and sundamage, and have additional training in this field.

What are our fees?

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At My Skin Cancer Clinics we make professional skin care and skin checks affordable for everyone. Our initial appointments are 15 minutes long for a standard skin check, but if your skin needs it, we will take longer to ensure a full and thorough examination.  Fees may apply, and medicare rebate is claimable for at least half of the fee. Most eligible surgical and non surgical treaments and procedures are bulk billed. DVA eligible patients are bulk billed for all services including standard skin checks, as are pensioners and valid Health Care Card holders.

What special equipment do we use to diagnose and treat skin cancer and sundamage?

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Our doctors are all highly trained in the field of dermatoscopy- a specialised technique to identify potential skin cancers. We also have a mole mapping service, using state of the art computerised imaging and photography. This process is designed to image your moles and keep track of any potential changes.

Our clinic also has access to Fraxel Lasers and several photodynamic therapy light sources.

 

Treating Sun-damage

Why is it important to treat sun damage?

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Sun damage can present as sun-spots or solar keratosis- rough, dry, persistent scaly areas on exposed parts of the face and body. Solar keratoses are lesions that can, over time, lead to skin cancer. Brisbane has one of the highest rates of solar keratosis in the World.

How do I know if I have sundamage?

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Sun damage can present in many ways, including dark areas, rough scaly areas on the face, as well as red, stingy crusts that bleed when picked. A skin cancer doctor or Specialist Dermatologist can assist in the diagnosis and management of sun damage.

How can I reduce the need for liquid nitrogen spay to my sunspots?

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Cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen is an excellent method to treat or remove a few sunspots, especially on the hands and forearms, however can be an unpleasant experience if spots on face are treated. Treating the ‘field’ with Photodynamic Therapy, Fraxel Laser or creams can reduce the need for liquid nitrogen. Your skin cancer doctor or dermatologist can guide you as to the best ‘field treatment’ for your needs.

How can sun damage be removed?

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Sun damage can be treated by a variety of methods including spray nitrogen, creams such as Efudix, Alara, Picato, or one off laser- light methods such as Fraxel Laser or Photodynamic Therapy.  The type of procedure will depend on your available downtime, extent of damage and budget. Creams such as Efudix cost $70, whilst laser treatment and PDT can cost several thousand dollars.

What other options are there to remove sun damage, apart from Efudix?

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More than ever, patients are given a choice of effective treatment methods for sunspots. Efudix is an excellent method of sun spot removal, however the redness and downtime following Efudix therapy is significant- upto 6 weeks. Newer treatments have a much shorter ‘downtime’ and work as well as Efudix in the removal of pre cancerous spots.

What is the best treatment for sun spots?

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All treatments are individualised according to your downtime, severity of sun spots and costs. As a guide- Efudix is the cheapest option, but associated with a downtime of 4-6 weeks. PDT or photodynamic therapy has the shortest downtime, but is also the most costly. Fraxel Laser and Picato sits in the middle.

What is Fraxel 1927 laser treatment for sun spots?

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Fraxel laser is the newest laser in the fight against sunspots. Using special patented Micro Fractional Technology, laser energy destroys sunspots, pre cancerous cells, and excessive pigmentation, replacing damaged skin with fresh, younger and clear skin. Fraxel laser can remove over 80% of sun damage in one sitting. In severe cases of sun damage and solar keratosis, 2-3 treatments are required.