Causes of Skin Cancer

  • Australia has one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Two in three Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. Melanoma is the third most common cancer and skin cancers account for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.
    At Medical Skin Clinic Australia we provide a service that aims to identify skin cancers early to ensure best possible outcomes through skin checks, monitoring, biopsies and treatments of any suspicious lesions.

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  • We currently understand a number of causes of skin cancer. These aspects can therefore be understood, avoided or educated about. However there are still some unanswered questions surrounding their development.

    At Medical Skin Clinic Australia we will help you to identify some of your individual risk factors and advise you how you can protect your skin and prevent damage.

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  • Sun exposure can also cause skin changes known as solar keratosis or actinic keratosis (commonly known as sunspots).

    These are of concern as they are felt to be pre cancerous lesions, which means if left untreated they have the potential to turn into a skin cancer – commonly a squamous cell carcinoma.

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  • We all know we need to protect ourselves from the sun and most now know how this should be accomplished.

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  • How good a sunscreen is at protecting you from UV radiation is measured by its sun protection factor or SPF.

    SPF measures HOW LONG it will take for UVB rays to redden the skin when using the sunscreen, compared to how long it will take without sunscreen.

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  • Early detection of a skin cancer is essential to reduce your risk of harm.

    At Medical Skin Clinic Australia we recommend having a skin check with one of our doctors so you can discuss your individual risk factors, understand what to look for, when to seek help and ensure early detection. A skin check by a doctor is commonly recommended every 2-3 years however your individual characteristics may alter this.

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  • At Medical Skin Clinic Australia, a doctor always performs a clinical mole mapping.

    This involves a fully body examination of your skin by the doctor, who uses an instrument called a dermatoscope. This instrument allows the doctor to see your moles at a higher magnification.

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  • After a skin examination has been done, it is possible the doctor may find a mole or skin lesion that they are concerned about which may need some treatment.

    Treatment for skin cancers can vary depending on the type of skin cancer, its size, its location and its depth. The doctors at Medical Skin Clinic Australia are here to help and support you. They will explain all possible options and allow you to chose a solution you understand and are happy to progress with.

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  • Medical Skin Clinic Australia offer a skin treatment called Photodynamic Therapy.

    Photodynamic therapy is a treatment that can be used for a number of different problems. Its main use is in the treatment of pre malignant skin lesions such as solar keratosis and the treatment of skin cancers. It can also be used for skin rejuvenation, acne, rosacea and wound healing.

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What Causes Skin Cancer?

We currently understand a number of causes of skin cancer. These aspects can therefore be understood, avoided or educated about. However there are still some unanswered questions surrounding their development.

At Medical Skin Clinic Australia we will help you to identify some of your individual risk factors and advise you how you can protect your skin and prevent damage.

Current risk factors are:

1. Sun Exposure

95- 99% of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. Sun exposure can be classed as the number of burning episodes or accumulated time in the sun over the years.
The sun emits 3 types of Ultra Violet (UV) radiation that can damage the DNA in our our skin cells. This damaged DNA results in an increased risk of skin cancer. The first sign of sun over exposure and skin DNA damage, is tanning. A tan occurs in an attempt to prevent further DNA damage and so it is not a healthy sign. Further exposure damages collagen and Vitamin A causing wrinkles, skin sagging and brown patches ie photoageing. UV rays can also damage eyes and suppress the immne system, reducing your ability to fight off the above mentioned changes and other insults occurring. The most worrying result of damaged DNA is an increased risk of a fatal skin cancer.

Australia has some of the highest UV levels in the world. The 3 types of UV radiation emitted by the sun are UVA,UVB and UVC.

Our senses cannot see or feel UV light as its wavelength is shorter than visible light. The suns warmth is caused by infrared radiation not UV.
There is also a huge variation of UV levels during the seasons, across Australia and dependent on the weather.

95% of UV radiation reaching the earth is UVA. Although less intense than UVB rays,they are present with relatively equal intensity throughout daylight hours all year round and can also penetrate clouds and glass, so our skin usually gets a higher exposure to them. They also penetrate deeper and more efficiently into the skin. They play a major role in skin ageing (photoageing) and wrinkling and evidence is now showing that they contributes to and may even initate the development of skin cancers.

UVB rays cause direct DNA damage and therefore play a major role in skin cancer development. UVB rays are the main cause of skin reddening and sunburn and hense damages the skins outer layers. Its intensity varies by season, location and time of day. It is most intense when the sun is at its brightest – ie Midday – 4pm during the summer months. They cannot penetrate glass.

UVC has a very short wavelength and so most is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach the earth.

Solariums emit UVA and UVB radiation, both of which are known to cause skin cancer. People who use solariums are 2.5 times more likely to get a squamous cell carcinoma and exposure in youth can increase risk of melanoma by 75%.

Due to the differences in the UV radiation emitted from the sun, sun exposure can occur on cooler overcast days, through windows at home or in the car, and on hotter sunny days. Sun protection measures should therefore be put into action throughout most of all days.

2. Family History

Having a family member of skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer or pancreatic cancer can increase your risk of developing a skin cancer. Regular skin checks are highly recommended if you have a family or personal history of the above.

3. Other individual risks

  • Skin Type ie pale skin
  • Fair hair colour
  • Blue eyes
  • Immunosuppression
  • Older age
  • Multiple moles of different shapes and sizes.

At Medical Skin Clinic Australia we are a Doctor led service run in a RACGP accredited clinic where we only use medical grade equipment and treatments with medical evidence to show they work. We look at all aspects of your skin in a holistic manner from skin cancers, laser treatments, cosmetics and nutrition. We aim to educate you on your skin and support you to ensure you make decisions you are happy with.

We are always warm and welcoming and want to treat you like a VIP. We always listen to and follow up your concerns and answer any questions, ensuring you have a trusted honest team dedicated to lifelong skin protection.

If you would like to make an appointment then please call the clinic on 03 5261 6171 to arrange an appointment or book online.
Skin is your confidence,

Let us protect it for you.



TORQUAY: 160 Surfcoast highway, Torquay, Victoria


(03) 5261 6171


-Friday 9am – 5pm.

Saturday 9am – 3pm.

Other times by appointment only



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