All Australians are at risk of getting skin cancer, and some people may be more at risk than others, such as:
- People with very fair skin.
- Those with a history of sunburn.
- Extreme exposure to the sun.
- People with an abnormally high number of moles.
- Those with a personal or family history of skin cancer.
- Exposure to radiation or other substances.
There are many types of skin cancer, the main types being:
- Melanoma – This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, as it can spread to other areas of the body as well. Melanoma develops in an existing mole or appears as a new dark spot on the skin.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – This is the most common type of skin cancer. People with very fair skin are more prone to this type of skin cancer and should get regular skin checks in Melbourne or from a skin clinic close to them. If not treated early, these cancers can grow deep into the bones and nerves and can cause serious damage and disfigurement.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Although people with fair skin are most likely to develop this type of cancer, dark-skinned people can get this too. It often appears as a red lump, scaly patch, or a wound that heals and then reopens again.
There are many skin cancer clinics in Melbourne, and other cities in Australia, that provide skin checks and mole mapping services that are able to detect skin cancers quite early on. These clinics usually keep records of the spots, lumps, and moles on a person’s body, and checks these records at subsequent visits to see if there are any visible changes in size, shape, or color, which may indicate that they are caused by skin cancer.
Following a skin check, sometimes a doctor may require you to get a biopsy by using a very small part of the suspicious-looking skin. Through a biopsy, they can confirm if it is skin cancer or not. A skin cancer clinic in Melbourne or anywhere else provides all these services, so you won’t have to go from place to place to get all the different tests done.
Once a diagnosis of skin cancer is confirmed, your doctor will need to discuss it with you and decide on the possible treatment options available for your specific condition. These treatments may include one of the following:
- Freezing – Small, early skin cancers can be destroyed by freezing them using liquid nitrogen.
- Excisional Surgery – A doctor cuts out the cancerous tissue and the surrounding area of healthy skin. At times doctors may remove extra normal skin from around the affected area. This method of treatment is suitable for all types of skin cancers.
- Mohs Surgery – More suitable for larger tumors, or recurring or hard-to-treat cancers, this procedure involves removing the skin growth, layer by layer, while examining each layer under a microscope. The process continues until all abnormal cells are removed. With this procedure, only the cancerous cells are removed, keeping the healthy skin around it intact. It is ideal for areas such as the nose.
Curettage, Electrodesiccation, or Cryotherapy – Following the removal of the growth, the doctors may scrape away any remaining cancer cells using a curette. They may also use liquid nitrogen to freeze the border and edge of the treated area.
- Radiation Therapy – When cancer cannot be fully removed through surgery, doctors use radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams such as x-rays.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy uses medications to kill cancer cells. Creams containing anti-cancer medication may be applied for cancers that are limited to the top layer of the skin. Sometimes chemotherapy is used when cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
- Photodynamic Therapy – Doctors can destroy cancer cells through laser light and medicines that make the cancer cells sensitive to light.
- Biological Therapy – Using the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Early detection is the key to treating skin cancer effectively, without severe treatment methods. Hence you should make it a habit to get a skin check done regularly. You can get a skin check in Melbourne or any other city in Australia easily and conveniently by making an online appointment with a skin cancer clinic.