Be someone's hero: encourage them to get a skin check. It could save their life.
Did someone encourage you to get a skin check and thereby saved your life? Did you spot an unusual mole on someone’s body and urged them to see a doctor? Did someone inform you that you were at high risk of skin cancer when you weren't aware? We would love to learn more about your skin cancer story and “your hero”.
Despite skin cancer being the easiest type of cancer to treat if detected early, every six hours an Australian still dies from melanoma. There is one simple thing you can do for someone you care about: encourage them to get a skin check. It could save their life.
Send us your story along with a photo, or record a video describing your journey. Your words have the power to make a difference and save someone's life.
I knew I was past due for my next skin cancer check and had it on my to-do list for some time. I had a basal cell carcinoma removed in my late 20s so I know how important it is to get checked regularly by skin cancer doctors. Plus, my mother and sister have histories of skin cancers, emphasising just how important it is for me to keep on top of my own skin health.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging in many ways, it gave me an opportunity to catch up on all my health-related appointments that I never manage to get to as a full-time working mum.
During my skin check, I discussed some concerns with my doctor, relating to some peeling I was experiencing on my lip over a period of time. This time, I was lucky to learn it was a sun spot. I discussed with the doctor the likelihood that I may have other nastier things on my lip that might be difficult to pick up. He outlined three options available to me, emphasising that it was my choice on what action to take, but providing his opinion. Now we have an action plan in place on how to watch my skin and reduce my likelihood of other skin cancer problems.
The reality is that the peeling on my lip could have been a symptom of something much worse. It is a reminder to always prioritise your health, including health checks, and not be afraid to raise any small issue. You never know what it might turn out to be!
- Emma Liversidge, skin cancer survivor
My hero is my mate Martin. I was at his place watching the cricket and having a chat, when he asked me, "What is that on your arm?" I said, "I'm not sure. It looks like a rash and it's been there for a few weeks." He responded with, "I would get that checked out by your doctor."
I got a skin check and it turned out to be stage II malignant melanoma. The surgeon told me that if I had left it for a few months, I may not be here today.
My hero is the team at Sun Patrol Skin Cancer Centre Officer, who encouraged me to get a skin check. Having red hair and blue eyes, I was the trifecta. Now I am 24 and have had my second stage I malignant melanoma removed. I thought that couldn’t possibly happen to me; I was just a young mum with a desk job that hated the sun. I thought melanoma only affected the older generation or people who were always outside. Without a skin check I would never have found the melanomas.
My hero's name is Gizmo and he is a 10-year-old, very loving, devoted Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Two years ago I noticed Gizmo's behaviour change in regards to me. He would constantly follow me and sniff a particular mole on my leg. When I sat down with him, his nose would constantly go to the mole on my leg. One day I was walking to the clothes line and virtually almost tripped over him because he wouldn't leave my leg alone. This is when I made the decision to get the mole checked out.
My hero is Linda, the Practice Manager of the New Town Skin Cancer Centre! I am a professional window cleaner and whilst window cleaning at the facility she suggested that I should book in to have my skin checked.
As a window cleaner, I spend most of my work life outdoors which puts me in the high risk group of developing skin cancer. I was completely unaware of the melanoma growing on my arm.
My hero is the team at the cricket hub Cricket Southern Bayside (CSB). When they encouraged all members to get a skin check, I followed their advice and that potentially saved my life.
I had a suspicious spot on my forehead that I knew needed checking, but that wasn’t the end of it. Two spots on my face were biopsied and turned out to be basal cell carcinomas.
My hero is my mum. When I was 12 years old, Mum noticed an abnormal freckle on my right tricep. Even though my mum had been told by her dermatologist that children didn’t need a skin check until they turned 16, she booked an appointment with our local GP to get my freckle looked at. The doctor referred us to Coorparoo Skin Cancer Centre, where I was diagnosed with melanoma. Mum always knows best!
My hero is the doctor who acted so quickly to save my life 37 years ago. I had a mole behind my ear. He took one look at it, asked me to wait and left the room. I spent five hours on the operating table the next day while they removed a melanoma under my skin that was the size of the palm of my hand. The only indicator had been an itchy mole on the surface.
Regular full-body skin examinations are vital for catching cancers before they become serious. Skin exams take about 15 - 30 minutes, and the doctor will start by asking about your skin cancer risk factors and general health. You will need to undress to your underwear. If you wish, we can provide a blanket or gown for you to wear while the doctor inspects your body from head to toe, looking for abnormal moles or spots. We will not examine the genital area unless you have any spots in that region which particularly concern you.Read More
The doctor will closely examine any unusual spots using a dermatoscope. This close-up perspective helps us assess whether a mole is normal or abnormal. It is a completely painless process that has been proven to increase the rate of skin cancer detection. We may also photograph a few spots to monitor changes over time, as this can be indicative of skin cancer.Read More
If the doctor finds a suspicious spot that might be skin cancer, a sample of skin will be removed and sent to a pathology lab to be thoroughly examined under a microscope. This is called a biopsy, and it helps confirm whether the suspicious spot is cancerous. The most common biopsy techniques are shave and punch biopsies, which are both done under a local anaesthetic. A shave biopsy involves shaving off the top layer of skin with a small surgical blade, while a punch biopsy uses a tool like a tiny cookie cutter to remove all the layers of skin.Read More
The treatment you receive for skin cancer will depend on the type, size and location of the skin cancer, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. We offer various surgical and non-surgical treatments, including excisions of the tumour and surrounding tissue to ensure all the cancerous cells are entirely removed, curettage which is the method of scraping and burning the skin cancer, cryotherapy which is the method of freezing off the skin cancer with liquid nitrogen, and topical applications of creams that stimulate the immune system and destroy skin cancer.Read More
Improve access to skin cancer care and reduce the mortality and morbidity of the disease.
Reduce the waiting time for patients to receive efficient diagnosis and treatment.
Provide vital skin cancer care to communities with limited or no access to specialists.
Offer a high-quality referral option to local GPs managing patients outside their scope.
Relieve the public hospital system as most patients cannot afford specialist care.
Save lives by dramatically reducing the delay in diagnosis and treatment.