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Patient Info

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What to expect when attending a clinic

Please see the below standard procedure for an appointment with Sun and Skin Doctors. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to speak to the reception staff at your closest clinic.

  • Upon arrival please report to reception
  • Ensure your contact details are up to date
  • Have your Medicare, Pension, Healthcare or Veteran Affairs cards handy
  • When the Doctor calls you into the consultation room he/she will ask you some questions regarding family history, previous excisions, occupation, level of sun exposure and frequency of sun protection
  • Your Doctor will ask you if you have any spots you are concerned about
  • Your Doctor will ask you to undress to your underwear
  • Your Doctor will begin a systematic approach using a dermatoscope to cover all parts with particular attention to sun exposed areas
  • Remember to tell your doctor about any lesions of concern in areas that may be hard to see, such as your scalp or those concealed by underwear
  • Your Doctor may lightly palpate each lesion for additional clues
  • Your Doctor will check your liver and lymph nodes (neck, armpits, groin) if following up from a previous melanoma

The importance of regular skin checks

  • Regular checks give you a good chance of spotting the signs of sun damage before they become serious
  • Regular checks will help you get to know your own skin and gain a greater understanding of what is normal on your skin and what is not, which will help you in identifying any new or changing areas of your skin
  • Extremely important for those with a higher risk of getting skin cancer (people with reduced immunity, people who have had skin cancer before, and people with a strong family history of skin cancer) to be checked regularly to avoid any cancerous spots
  • Cancer can appear on parts of the body which are not exposed to the sun, so checking these regularly is also very important

The importance of early detection

  • Detecting sun spots early means potentially avoiding cancer
  • Sun spots and skin cancers that are identified and treated early have a better outcome than most other types of cancer

What changes to look out for

  • New moles
  • Moles that increase in size
  • An outline of a mole that becomes notched
  • Change in colour on a spot from brown to black or is varied
  • A spot that develops a lump within it or becomes raised
  • Rough, scaly or ulcerated surfaces begin to develop
  • Moles that itch or tingle
  • Moles that bleed or weep
  • Spots that look different from your other spots

Different types of skin cancer

  • Melanoma
  • Nodular melanoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
    • Nodular and nodular-ulcerative BCC
    • Pigmented BCC
    • Superficial BCC
    • Morphoeic BCC

Prevention of skin cancer

  • Slip, slop, slap, seek, slide
  • Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible
  • Wear a shirt with a collar rather than a singlet top, when swimming, wear a wetsuit or rash vest
  • Slop on sunscreen
  • SPF30+ sunscreens filter out 97% of UV radiation
  • Sunscreen will only filter out sun if enough sunscreen is used and it is used properly
  • Sunscreen should be applied over all areas of exposed skin 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours (sooner if you’ve been swimming or sweating)
  • Try to use water resistant sunscreen
  • Apply sunscreen liberally to each limb, the front and back of the body and the face, neck, ears, hands and feet
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, back of the neck, eyes and ears
  • Seek shade
  • 11am-3pm is when the sun’s UV rays are their harshest, try your best to seek shade especially during these hours
  • Slide on some sunglasses
  • Long term exposure to UV radiation can cause cataracts and skin cancers of various tissues in the eye
  • Using sunglasses which wrap around the face and are close fitting will provide the maximum protection
  • There is an Australian Standard for sunglasses