12 Jul Skin cancer checks: who should be checking your skin and how often?
As Australians, we are familiar with the risks associated with sun exposure. We have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world – two in three of us will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the time we’re 70.
Here are our answers to some commonly asked questions about skin cancer checks.
Should I check myself or leave it to a professional?
The short answer is that you should do both. Self-assessment and full skin examinations by doctors are both important in early detection.
Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin or are noticed by a loved one. Get to know your skin and examine yourself regularly. If you notice anything unusual, see a doctor.
Visit our South East Dermatology Stafford website for a guide to checking your own skin, including a demonstration video.
How often should I have professional skin checks?
There’s no hard and fast rule here. Discuss your level of risk with your doctor and get their advice on how often you should return for checks.
GP, skin cancer clinic or dermatologist: who should I see?
You can see any of these professionals about your skin. Here’s a breakdown of each option
A general practitioner (GP) can:
● perform a skin check and examine any lesions you’re worried about
● discuss your risk factors and family history
● treat some skin cancers
● refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.
Skin cancer clinics:
● are usually operated by GPs who have the same level of training as a GP but their focus is on skin cancer
● often offer the latest technology for examining skin spots
● can refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.
● are doctors who have completed additional training to specialise in diagnosing and treating skin disease, including skin cancers
● are recommended for people at high risk of melanoma or who need a second opinion
● require a referral from a GP or a skin cancer clinic.
See our skin cancer GPs without a referral
At South East Dermatology Stafford, we understand that not all patients want to see a dermatologist for their skin cancer checks but they want to be sure that their GP is experienced in skin examinations.
Our GPs have a special interest in skin and are supported in their professional development by our dermatologists. You can see one of our GPs without a referral but feel secure in the knowledge that they specialise in skin and that dermatologists are right here on site if you need a second opinion.
Visit our website to meet our skin cancer GPs and make an appointment.