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Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with over 2,000 Australians dying from skin cancer every year. The primary cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and Australia's high levels of UV radiation due to its location and climate make it particularly susceptible.

It is essential to catch skin cancer early to ensure that it is treated successfully, and regular skin checks with a doctor can help achieve this. General practitioners are often the first point of contact for patients with concerns about skin cancer and can perform skin checks to identify any suspicious spots or lesions. They can then perform minor surgery where required, or refer patients to for further diagnosis and treatment when necessary.

Preventative measures that can help reduce the risk of skin cancer include avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly during peak UV times (10 am to 4 pm), wearing protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, and regularly applying sunscreen with a high SPF rating. It is also recommended to avoid using tanning beds or sunlamps, as they can increase the risk of skin cancer.

Skin checks can be particularly important for those with a family history of skin cancer, fair skin, and a history of frequent sun exposure. Patients with multiple moles or freckles or who have previously had skin cancer are also at a higher risk and should have regular skin checks.

In addition to preventative measures and regular skin checks, early detection and treatment of skin cancer are crucial. There are several treatment options for skin cancer, including surgical removal, cryotherapy, and radiation therapy. The treatment option chosen will depend on the type and stage of skin cancer.

I don't think a skin check will affect me!

Skin cancer can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. However, certain factors such as fair skin, a history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, a family history of skin cancer, and a weakened immune system can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. It is important for everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and to take preventative measures such as wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen regularly. Regardless of age, skin type, or personal risk factors, anyone who notices a suspicious spot or growth on their skin should book an appointment with their doctor for a professional skin check. Early detection and treatment can greatly improve the chances of a successful outcome.

What is involved in a skin check?

The duration of a skin check can vary depending on the individual case and the complexity of the examination. Generally, a full-body skin check takes around 15-30 minutes, but it may take longer if the doctor finds something that requires closer examination or if you have a history of skin cancer. It's important to remember that a thorough skin check is crucial for early detection and prevention of skin cancer, so it's recommended to schedule regular appointments with your dermatologist or GP.

Do I really need a skin check?

While it's important to be aware of the signs of skin cancer, it's essential to keep in mind that not all skin cancers have visible symptoms. Skin cancer can manifest itself in various ways, including unusual growths, sores that don't heal, moles that change in size, shape, or color, and patches of scaly or discolored skin. However, even if you don't see any visible changes, it's still essential to get regular skin checks from a qualified medical professional. Skin checks are the most effective way to identify potential skin cancers in their early stages, which can increase the chances of successful treatment and recovery. It's recommended that everyone gets a skin check at least once a year, and more often if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer or other risk factors. So, don't hesitate to book an appointment with your GP or dermatologist to ensure that your skin is healthy and cancer-free.

Book a skin check today as part of your preventative health!

Skin cancer is a prevalent and potentially deadly disease in Australia, and regular skin checks with a general practitioner are essential to identify any suspicious spots or lesions early. Preventative measures such as avoiding prolonged sun exposure, wearing protective clothing, and regularly applying sunscreen can also help reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. With early detection and treatment, skin cancer can be successfully treated, highlighting the importance of regular skin checks and preventative measures.