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.
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.
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.
We all know we need to protect ourselves from the sun and most now know how this should be accomplished.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mole Mapping and Full body Photography
What is Mole Mapping?
The term ‘mole mapping’ has been used in several different ways. However, it usually refers to a surveillance program for those at high risk of melanoma. It can consist of a clinical method or a single mole or full body photography method.
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. In the trained eyes of the doctors at the clinic this greatly increases the chances of picking up a suspicious skin lesion and also allows a higher reassurance for normal moles or lumps compared to looking at the skin without one.
Another form of mole mapping offered at Medical Skin Clinic Australia is through photographic surveillance. This may be recommended if you have a lot of moles, moles that may look different to others or have a family history or personal history of skin cancers. For this method, photographs are taken of the whole body plus any worrying lesions. These are then stored on a special software program and can be reviewed at a later date to enable identification of any new skin lesions, or whether pre-existing skin lesions have grown or changed color or shape.
Advantages of Mole Mapping
Mole mapping is intended to diagnose melanoma at the earliest possible stage, by identifying new lesions or changes in pre-existing skin lesions.
Compared to self skin examination or an examination by a non-specialist doctor, mole mapping as described above has the following advantages:
- The previous record can be used to determine whether a lesion of concern is new or has changed.
- If the doctor determines that a lesion needs to be removed, this can be done at the earliest possible stage, reducing the risk of melanoma spread and minimising surgery.
- If a lesion is new or has changed, but does not reach the threshold for removal, it can be re-imaged and watched carefully.
Who is Suitable for Photographic Mole Mapping?
Mole mapping is particularly useful for individuals who have:
- Many moles (more than 50 to 100).
- Dysplastic or atypical naevi – ie moles that are large, unusual colours or shapes.
- Moles on the back, which may be difficult to keep an eye on.
- Previous history of melanoma.
- Strong family history of melanoma.
- Previous history of non melanoma skin cancers.
- Moles and fair skin that has been severely sunburned.
- Concerns about individual moles or freckles, e.g. because of their appearance or a recent change.
Mole mapping is most useful for pigmented moles – these are usually light to dark brown in colour. Accurate diagnosis depends on evaluation of the structure of the pigment.
A basic skin check at Medical Skin Clinic Australia involves a clinical mole mapping of the whole body by the doctor. Photographic mole mapping is a different service that can be requested by the patient, or may be advised by the doctor if you have moles of concern or risk factors for melanoma.