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.
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.
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.
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.
Available only at Gardens Skin Cancer Centre, Albury
Total Body Photography and Dermoscopy offers the earliest and most accurate skin cancer diagnosis. The technology revolutionises skin checks by creating an accurate map of your skin in less than five minutes. The resulting set of high-resolution photos is used as a reference for follow-up skin exams. It provides the most precise comparisons available today, allowing our doctors to detect new and changed moles and leading to the early detection of skin cancer.