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My hero is the doctor who acted so quickly to save my life 37 years ago.
I went to a doctor to have an itchy rash on my face looked at. He asked if I was itchy anywhere else and I pointed out a mole behind my ear, hidden in my hair. He took one look at it, asked me to wait and left the room. When he came back in, he said "I have made an appointment with a specialist to have that looked at. Can you go right now?"
I drove straight to the specialist who saw me immediately, even though he had a room full of patients waiting. The same thing happened again: he left the room, came back in and said, "I have scheduled some time tomorrow in an operating theatre. Can you check into hospital this afternoon?"
I knew nothing at the the time about melanoma. He explained a little bit and said it was important to get onto it straight away. I still had no idea of the severity or significance of the situation. I spent five hours on the operating table 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.
The surgeon stated afterwards that I shouldn't be here today and that if my melanoma had gone undiagnosed for another month or two, it would have been inoperable. So my hero is that doctor who acted so quickly.
- John Shields, Skin Cancer Survivor
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.