Life in Australia equates to time in the sun. We spend much of our time engaged in activities, whether it is for work or pleasure, outside exposed to the sun. Despite our best efforts to cover up, we still subject our skin to sun damage. As such, Australians experience some of the highest rates of skin cancer of any population in the world.
It is best to visit your family GP at least once a year to have your skin checked, or even more often if you have already been treated for any suspicious ‘spots’. Should your GP identify anything unusual, a referral can be made to Sandhurst Plastic Surgery to have the spot treated, particularly if it is on a cosmetically or functionally significant area of the body such as the face, head and neck, or the limbs.
Successful management of skin cancer involves four key steps:
- Identification of the tumor
- Adequate clearance of the tumor cells (which includes taking normal tissue around the spot)
- Functionally and cosmetically desirable reconstruction
- Ongoing skin surveillance.
Patients treated for any condition, including skin cancer, at Sandhurst Plastic Surgery will be pleased to know that we strongly believe that communication between GP and surgeon is key to success in all of the above steps. The GP (and the patient) will be provided with a comprehensive treatment report to ensure that no stone is left unturned. In addition to this, Sandhurst Plastic Surgery runs regular sessions for GPs and specialists to come together to ensure treatment strategies are up to date, and also to discuss unusual or difficult cases.
Prevention is better than cure – always apply and re-apply sun screen, and wear a hat, shirt and sunglasses when outside.
If a spot on your skin changes in any of the following ways, talk to your GP:
- changes colour;
- increases in size;
- changes shape;
- won’t heal.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.