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.
We all know we need to protect ourselves from the sun and most now know how this should be accomplished. The hardest part is putting it into action during everyday life and remembering:
- Sunscreen does not last all day so needs reapplication.
- You do get sun exposure on cloudy and cooler days or through windows.
- You do need some sun exposure for essential body nutrients.
So…the current question is – How much sun should we get?
The sun is good for us and we are all attracted to it. We need the suns UVB rays to make vitamin D, an essential vitamin that actually protects us against skin cancer, improves our immune system, maintains our bones and muscles and gives us energy and makes us feel good. Surely if we were not meant to have sun exposure we would have evolved to be nocturnal? However over exposure can lead to skin cancers. So how do we balance this? A clear answer has not been developed. Lots of research is being put into this area and current recommendations by the Cancer Council of Australia in ragards to safe sun exposure for Vitamin D is:
In the Summer – A few minutes of exposure to sunlight on face, arms and hands on either side of the peak UV periods on most days of the week.
In the Winter (May-August) – 2-3 hours of sunlight to face, arms and hands spread over a week.
At Medical Skin Clinic Australia we aim to educate you on how to protect your skin so that you can get the balance of healthy sun exposure whilst protecting yourself from its damaging effects.
Sun Protection Advice
Current recommendations by Sun Smart are:
Slip – Slip on protective clothing to help reflect UV radiation and protect your skin.
Slop – Slop on sunscreen. It is recommended to apply sunscreen with at least an SPF 30, broad spectrum and waterproof. Apply 35ml to the entite body (adult) 20minutes before going into the sun and reapply every 2 hours. Current advice from the collage of dermatologists is that babies should be kept in the shade and sunscreen can be applied if sun exposure cannot be avoided.
Slap – Slap on a broad brimmed hat that covers face, ears, neck and head.
Seek – Seek shade. This is the most user friendly method. However it may not be 100% protective as rays can reflect off other surfaces into the shaded area.
Slide – Slide on some sunglasses. UV light can damage eyes. Look for Australian standard AS/NZS1067:2003 or look for the words “good UV protection” or categroires 2,3 or 4
Protect yourself from UV radiation both inside and outside.
Seek the shade when outdoors especially between 12 pm and 4pm Sept – April (VIC).
UVA penetrates glass, so consider wearing sunscreen whilst in the car, covering up or getting tinted windows.
Dress outdoors to limit UV exposures – dark colourd clothes reflect more UV than pastles or pale colours. Lightly fitting clothes provide more of a barrier between you and the sun.
Examine your skin monthly head to toe, including non sun exposed areas. Get checked anything you find that you are concerned about by a Doctor such as at Medical Skin Clinic Austrlia.
Do not burn.
Do not use solariums or tanning booths.