Skin Blog 9 - January 2018: Skin Checks - Who, What, When & How?

Posted By Dr. Eugene Tan  
11:00 AM
Skin Blog 9 – January 2018: Skin checks – Who, What, When & How?

*Big thanks to Hamish for increasing awareness on having regular skin checks!

Australia and NZ have the highest rate of skin cancers in the world. 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with a skin cancer by the age of 70.

Am I at risk of having a skin cancer? If you are very fair, always burns and never tan you are at high risk of having a skin cancer. This risk is higher if you already have a family member with a skin cancer. Those at medium risk are individuals who mildly burn and tan with some difficulty. Those at low risk are those who have olive skin, rarely burns and < 25 years old.

What is involved in a skin check? A skin check is more than just looking. It involves a full history of skin cancer risk, skin care advice, addressing spots of concern and a systematic exam of all body parts with particular attention to sun-exposed sites. Your dermatologist may elect to use dermatoscopy which is a skin surface microscopy to further enhance diagnostic accuracy. If there is suspicion of a skin cancer, a biopsy (removal of a tiny piece of skin) may be performed and sent to the laboratory for further analysis.

It is recommended that individuals with high risk have a skin check at least every 12 months with a doctor and perform 3-monthly self examination. Those at medium risk should be checked every 2-5 years with 3-6 monthly self checks and low risk individuals can have a one-off skin check with a doctor in conjunction with annual self-skin checks.

Can you be cool like Hamish and get regular skin checks?