Skin Cancer Facts and Figures
In Australia, every year:
- skin cancers account for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.
- two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
- melanoma is the most common cancer in people aged 15-44 years.
- excluding non-melanoma skin cancer (1), melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in both women and men.
- Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world, at nearly four times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK.
- GPs in Australia have over 1 million patient consultations per year for skin cancer.
- around 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers. In 2007, 448 people died of the disease.
- more than 10,300 people are treated for melanoma, with 1279 people dying in 2007 alone.
People at higher risk of skin cancer are those who:
- Previously had a skin cancer and/or have a family history of skin cancer, especially melanomas.
- Have a large number of moles on their skin
- Have fair skin that is sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and burns easily
- Have a history of severe/blistering sunburns
- Spend lots of time outdoors, unprotected, during their lifetime, including working outdoors.
- Actively tan or use solariums, sunlamps and sunbeds
When to have a Skin Check
- If you have developed a new spot that is different from other spots around it
- If a spot, mole or unusual freckle that has changed in shape, size, or colour
- If you have a sore that doesn’t heal
- Any skin spot that you are worried about.
- We recommend a full body skin check at least every 12 months, and more if you are at higher risk of skin cancers (see above).
Detection and Diagnosis
Our Skin Cancer Clinic offers state of the art digital dermoscopy services to help detect, diagnose and provide the appropriate care for your condition. Our system combined with experienced and skin cancer trained doctors is one the best methods for diagnosis of melanoma’s and helps avoid unnecessary surgery.
Skin Cancer Removal
Our doctors are experienced and trained at skin cancer removal. The procedure is usually simple and will be explained by your skin doctor. For this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area, and then the skin cancer is excised along with some of the healthy skin tissue around it (margin). After the cancerous area is removed, the incision is closed with stitches. If the incision is large, sometimes a skin graft or flap is required.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Between 95 and 99% of skin cancers in Australia are caused by exposure to the sun. There are 3 main types of Skin Cancers:
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
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