SKIN CANCER

Riverina Skin Specialists provides a full skin cancer screening, diagnosis and management service. The primary aim of skin cancer screening is to detect skin cancers at the earliest possible stage to enable prompt treatment.

All of the dermatologists at Riverina Skin Specialists have specialist training in the early detection and management of skin cancer. Unlike some skin cancer clinicals, all skin cancer screening at Riverina Skin Specialists is performed by the dermatologist themselves to ensure that you receive the best possible skin examination.

Skin cancer screening usually involves the dermatologist taking a thorough history to identify any lesions of concern and to establish the individual cancer risk of the patient. A thorough skin examination will then be performed with the aid of a dermatoscope. The dermatoscope is an instrument that has a special lens allowing the dermatologist to see structures underneath the top layer of the skin. In experienced hands, the dermatoscope improves the early detection of skin cancer and also reduces the need to biopsy harmless benign skin lesions.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This high rate of skin cancer is due to a number of factors including our love of the outdoors, the harsh summer sun and because many Australians have fair skin not suited to the Australian climate.

AT A GLANCE

  • Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70
  • Over 750,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer each year, that is over 2000 people every day
  • More than 2000 Australians die from skin cancer each year
  • Melanoma skin cancer is the 4th most common cancer in Australia

There are many different types of skin cancer. The most common types of skin cancer in Australia is the basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

 

BASAL CELL CARCINOMA

Basal cell carcinoma’s (or BCC’s) are the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer.

 

You may notice a skin growth in a dome shape that has blood vessels in it. It can be pink, brown, or black. At first, BCC comes up like a small “pearly” bump that looks like a flesh-colored mole or a pimple that doesn’t go away. They are usually seen on the areas of skin most exposed to sun (eg-head and neck).

 

Depending on the thickness of the tumour, BCC’s may be treated either with surgery or non-surgical treatment (eg creams or light based treatments.)

 

SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA

Squamous cell carcinoma’s (or BCC’s) are the second most common form of skin cancer. Although not as dangerous as Melanoma, if these lesions are left untreated they can spread to other areas of the body.

 

SCCs usually appear as a thickened scaly red spot that is often quite tender and may bleed or ulcerate.

 

Most SCCs require surgical excision. In some situations SCCs may be treated with radiotherapy or non-surgical treatments.

 

MELANOMA

Melanomas are not as common as BCCs or SCCs however they are more dangerous.

 

Melanomas usually present as either a new or changing brown spot. Often they have irregular borders and multiple colours however in some situations melanomas may be pink or skin coloured.

 

Melanomas must be detected early as they can spread to other areas of the body including lymph nodes and other body organs.

 

Melanomas require surgical excision usually with a wide surgical margin.