You go to the Dentist for a check-up, you go to the Doctor for a check-up, but do you ever check up on your skin?
The skin is the human body’s largest organ, and accounts for around 15% of our bodyweight, yet most people rarely, if ever, go for skin checks at a skin clinic.
Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, unfortunately, we also have much higher UV radiation levels than most of the world. This means, Australians are some of the most at risk of contracting skin cancers.
Did you know that approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, with more than 750,000 people treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year? Do you know how to spot the signs of skin cancer? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
At Total GP, we offer a dedicated skin clinic, run by experienced doctors with a keen interest in skin and its associated cancers. The 3 main types of skin cancer are some of the easiest cancers to treat, but, like all cancer, early intervention is the key to success.
What can you expect from a ‘Skin Check’ Appointment?
The process of a Skin Check at Total GP is generally quite quick and un-invasive, usually taking about 15 minutes and costing $85 before the Medicare rebate of $37.05, which is claimable onsite.
The Doctor will use a device called a ‘Dermatoscope’, which, simply put, is a very powerful magnifying device, allowing the doctors to see into the layers of skin where freckles, moles, and various other potentially cancerous sun spots appear.
Our MoleMax provides your Doctor with the ability to view the image digitally, at very high resolutions, allowing them to more accurately diagnose malignant and benign spots, and suggest further treatment avenues where necessary. This may include further appointments for excisions or biopsies, referrals to specialists, or recommendations of treatment for those with cosmetic concerns.
If the Doctor chooses to excise potentially dangerous tissue or perform a biopsy, we offer these facilities onsite, and the Doctor will arrange a separate appointment for this to go ahead.
For any cosmetic concerns patients may have, such as pigmentation caused by the sun, freckles, birthmarks, or other pigmented lesions, the Begone Laser Clinics, which is situated above Total GP, offers laser treatment.
What’s ‘Benign’ and ‘Malignant’?
A ‘Benign’ lesion, or spot, simply means a natural, harmless, skin spot. Most moles, freckles, and other sun spots tend to me benign. They’re simply an overproduction of melanin, resulting from sun exposure.
A ‘Malignant’ lesion, or spot, is where sun exposure has caused some cells to mutate slightly. This causes the growth rate of these cells to accelerate, producing more mutated cells, until you have a cancerous growth. While relatively harmless in the early stages, if not removed quickly, these cells can spread through the bloodstream and cause further, much more harmful damage to your body.
It is always important to avoid unnecessary sun exposure, and to ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ when you are exposed. It is equally important to start having regular skin checks as you get older, in order to identify potentially dangerous growths early, before they spread.
Can I check myself?
The Cancer Council Australia has some great tips for checking at home, and you can find a link to their website below. However, it is virtually impossible to determine whether an irregular spot is malignant, or not, without help. So, if you’re checking yourself regularly and notice a spot growing, changing shape, or that looks odd, it’s a great idea to get it checked out by a pro.
When is the skin clinic open?
Our skin clinic is currently available at the following times:
Monday: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Tuesday: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Wednesday: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Thursday: 5:45pm – 7:00pm
Friday: 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Book Online or give us a call on (08) 9438 2000 and book in with one of our friendly receptionists!