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16th of November, 2020

Pictured: Dr Zahid Haider – DPV Health Broadmeadows Medical Centre Skin Clinic

As we approach summer and consider visiting the beach or spending extended time outdoors it’s important to beware of the sun’s damage on your skin.

Australians have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world. In fact, nearly two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they’re 70*.

According to Melanoma Institute Australia, melanomas that are detected and treated early are cured in 90%** of cases. So, in addition to self-checking regularly you should have a professional skin check once a year. It is also important to get a professional skin check by a doctor if anything suspicious appears, in addition to having your annual skin check.

Why do Australians have such high rates of skin cancer?

While the theory of an ozone hole (thin ozone layer allowing strong UV rays to reach the earth) is often to blame, the true culprit seems to be simpler.

Australians have fair skin in a part of the world with very strong sunlight. Melanoma rates are far lower in people with pigmented skin, such as aboriginal people, who are native to the environment.

What to look for

There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma (including nodular melanoma), basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

 

Melanoma

  • Most deadly form of skin cancer
  • If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body
  • Appears as a new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape
  • Can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun.

Nodular melanoma

  • Grows quickly
  • Looks different from common melanomas. Raised and even in colour
  • Many are red or pink; some are brown or black
  • They are firm to touch and dome-shaped
  • After a while, they begin to bleed and crust.

Basal cell carcinoma

  • Most common, least dangerous form of skin cancer.
  • Red, pale or pearly in colour, appears as a lump or dry, scaly area.
  • May ulcerate or fail to completely heal.
  • Grows slowly, usually on areas that are often exposed to the sun.

Squamous cell carcinoma

  • A thickened, red scaly spot that may bleed easily, crust or ulcerate.
  • Grows over some months, usually on areas often exposed to the sun.
  • More likely to occur in people over 50 years of age.

ABCDE melanoma detection guide

  • A is for Asymmetry – Look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.
  • B is for Border – A spot with a spreading or irregular edge (notched).
  • C is for Colour – Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.
  • D is for Diameter – Look for spots that are getting bigger.
  • E is for Evolving – Spots that are changing and growing.

These are some changes to look out for when checking your skin for signs of any cancer:

  • New moles.
  • Moles that increases in size.
  • An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
  • A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied.
  • A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
  • The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated.
  • Moles that itch or tingle.
  • Moles that bleed or weep.
  • Spots that look different from the others.

DPV Health’s New Skin Clinic

DPV Health are excited to launch the new Skin Clinic at Broadmeadows Medical Centre at Broadmeadows. The clinic is serviced by Dr Zahid Haider who is specialised in the assessment and management of skin cancer.

Treatments available at the Skin Clinic include:

  • Skin Checks
  • Biopsy (removal of skin lesions)
  • Ingrown Toenail Treatment
  • Graft & Flaps
  • Iron Infusion
  • Mirena / IUD Insertion
  • Implanon Insertion / Removal
  • Excisions of skin lesions including Skin Tag removal

To make an appointment call 1300 234 263 (select option 1 for Medical followed by option 1 for Broadmeadows Medical Centre)

 

Photos courtesy of Prof John Kelly FACD and the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

What to look for Source: Cancer Council

*Source: Sunsmart 

** Source: Melanoma Institute Australia