Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with a skin cancer by the time they are 70.
The most common forms of cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). With early detection the cure rate for these cancers is 95%. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, but even with a melanoma cure rate is high so long as it is detected early.
The message here is that the earlier skin cancer is detected the better. It is important that you are familiar with your skin and keep a watchful eye out for any tell-tale changes. Get your General Practitioner to look at any unusual moles, spots or lesions on your skin that do not clear up in 4 to 6 weeks or clear up and then recur.
Where appropriate an annual total body check is recommended to those carrying a high “load” of pigmented lesions.
What can I expect in a Total Body Check?
The Total Body Check takes place at your nearest clinic: Scarba Street Clinic in Coffs Harbour, Duke Street Medical Centre in Grafton, Rockvale Cardiac Centre in Armidale or the Barton Lane Medical Practice in Tamworth.
Dr Arianayagam will discuss any concerns you may have before he examines you under a bright light. A magnification device may be used to examine any unusual spots or lesions.
At the conclusion of the examination Dr. Arianayagam will discuss the results, options available and recommendations.
Follow Up Plan
All patients are given detailed, written instruction on Skin Care and Protection, working on the principle that prevention is better than cure.
If your skin is well cared for and protected and you do not have any lesions that are of any concern, no further appointments are made.
You are advised to do a personal frontal check every 3 months and to get the help of someone with good vision to check the back of your body.
Look out for anything that looks or feels or behaves differently. If you see something “different”, please do not panic! Often moles can get infected (Folliculitis) and may need treatment with antibiotic. If the area of concern clears after 3 to 4 weeks and does not recur, you can rest easy. If it is still there at 6 weeks or recurs you need to get this checked out and a good start is your regular doctor.
If you do not have any lesions causing concern but your skincare and protection is inadequate, you are given the necessary instruction and rechecked in 3 months.
If lesions are noted that are of concern, a further check may be done in 3 months or biopsies planned and excisions done, as appropriate.
If you have a large and heavy load of pigmented lesions, even if nothing needs treatment at present, you will be asked to come back in 6 months for a further check and a regular schedule will be set up and lesions treated appropriately.