The Answers You Need

Frequently asked questions

Why come to GP skin cancer doctors/a dedicated skin cancer clinic?

Our GP’s are accredited with the Australasian College of Skin Cancer Medicine. Between our 2 doctors they have over 20 years experience in skin cancer medicine. Dr Sally Shaw and Dr Mary Tai Kie both hold diploma’s in skin cancer medicine and surgery, a diploma in dermoscopy and Dr Sally Shaw has recently become a Fellow of the Skin Cancer College of Australia and New Zealand.

What is involved in a mole map?

A molemap is essentially a more intensive skin check, with close-up photos of particular moles which warrant monitoring. Molemapping is especially recommended for people with lots of moles, as well as personal or family history of melanoma. If you are not sure whether you would benefit from a molemap, we would recommend having a skin check first. The staff at the clinic can then advise you accordingly, depending on your skin check findings. Just like a skin check, the examination requires the staff to check you from head to toe so we would again advise to have no makeup, fake tan or nail polish at the time of the appointment.

What is a BCC?

A Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, but least risky type if caught early. It develops from an excessive amount of sun exposure. BCC’s often look like an open sore, scar, indent in the skin, scaly pink patch, shiny raised lesion, pink growth or red patch. There are various treatment options (ie. Excision, topical treatment, curettage and electrodessication, photodynamic therapy or cryosurgery) available for BCC’s and it depends on the sub-type of BCC.

What is an SCC?

A Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. It also progresses from excessive amounts of sun exposure. Squamous Cell Carcinoma’s develop from the squamous cells in the upper layer of the skin (epidermis). They often look like a pink scaly patch, a raised tender lesion, a raised growth with a central depression, a wart that bleeds or a keratotic horn. In extreme cases, they can become life-threatening if left to grow. Treatment options include excision, topical treatment, curettage and electrodessication, radiation, cryosurgery, photodynamic therapy.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is the most common type of cancer in younger people. Melanomas originate from either an existing mole or arise as a new lesion in which resembles a mole. If melanoma is detected early it is almost completely curable, if not found early it can progress and travel to other parts of the body making it a life-threatening condition. Melanoma’s can appear anywhere on the face or body, not just sun-exposed areas which is a common misconception. Majority of melanomas are black or brown, but can be pink, blue, grey, skin-coloured, purple or white. They are often the stand-out mole amongst others or the “ugly duckling”. The main risk factors for melanoma are: having a lot of moles, personal or family history of melanoma, personal history of non-melanoma skin cancers (BCC’s or SCC’s), and pale skin with red hair (Fitzpatrick Skin Type I and II).

At what age should I bring my child for a skin check?

We recommend any age, particularly if there is something you are concerned about. Although the incidence of Melanoma in children is extremely low.

What is involved in a skin check?

A skin check is a full body examination performed using hand-held dermoscopy to assess every lesion on the body. The nurse performs a skin check first (who are all trained in dermoscopy) before the doctor entering and performing a second skin check. A treatment plan is discussed at the end of the consultation if necessary

How frequently should I have a skin check?

If you have no personal or family history of skin cancer, an annual skin check is sufficient. If you have a history of skin cancer, every 6-12 months is preferred. If you have had a recent skin cancer, we would recommend a 3-month check, but if you have just been diagnosed with a melanoma then we recommend 3/12 checks for the first year following a melanoma diagnosis and 6 months for the second year. If no suspicious lesions are found within this 2-year period, annual checks are sufficient thereafter.

What are the costs involved?

See our fee page here

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