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Skin cancers are the most common cancers in Australia, with two out of three Australians developing at least one during their lifetime. At Qutis our goal is to provide patients with a comprehensive skin check, skin cancer education and management of skin cancers.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, in fact the total number of skin cancers removed annually from the Australian community is greater than all the other cancers put together. And accounts for approximately 80% of cancers in Australia. The incidence has been increasing markedly over the past 30 years.

Approximately 2,000 die of skin cancer each year in Australia, the majority being from melanoma cancer (1,550 deaths), and the remainder from non-melanoma cancer. This means that approximately 2 out of every 3 Australians will develop a skin cancer over their lifetime.

The greatest risk factor is sun exposure, but genetics, skin type, gender, as well as other factors also play a role.

The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the result. Precancerous changes can be identified and managed to reduce the risk of skin cancer development.

At Qutis skin check clinic, we want to assess your skin to help prevent, detect and manage pre-cancerous skin damage and skin cancer of all types. We are convinced that this will change your outcome for the better. To that end, all our doctors will undertake an extensive skin check to assess for the presence of skin cancer and sun damage at your visit with management advice and prevention information is also available.

We also provide specialised treatments such as photodynamic therapy, red light therapy for wound management and blue light treatment for rosacea.

Biopsy of skin lesions involves removing relatively small samples of a lesion, which is sent for histology assessment to establish or confirm the diagnosis of a skin lesion so that definitive treatment can be planned.

This will generally require a local anaesthetic prior to shaving, scraping or punching out the tissue sample to be sent for assessment.

Often this can be performed on the day of consultation but may need to be undertaken on another day.

All the doctors at Qutis are trained in the various forms of these biopsy procedures and will discuss the relative merits of each.

Everyone should be aware of the possible limitations of a biopsy. While mostly it will reflect the nature of the lesion sampled, sometimes various factors can limit the information that can be provided and a definitive removal is required.

As with all procedures you should notify the treating doctor about all medicines you are taking, if you have any allergies, if you have any bleeding disorder or if you are pregnant.

Patients with a pacemaker should notify the doctor prior to any procedure so that correct measures can be undertaken to prevent damage to your pacemaker during the use of diathermy equipment.

Excisions of skin lesions to remove them completely are performed under sterile conditions using autoclaved instruments and sterile disposable equipment.

Many different types of surgery can be used for the treatment of skin cancers.

Curettage and electrodesiccation (diathermy) is the most common surgical treatment used for Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), this involves the removal of the tissue with a curette and then the area is treated with an electric current to destroy any remaining cancer cells. It can leave a small scar or a white patch.

An elliptical excision or skin flap repair is required where definitive treatment needs to be guaranteed. Following removal the site is repaired with sutures. Occasionally a graft is needed to repair larger or difficult to close sites.

As with all procedures you should notify the treating doctor about all medicines you are taking, if you have any allergies, if you have any bleeding disorder or if you are pregnant.

Patients with a pacemaker should notify the doctor prior to any procedure so that correct measures can be undertaken to prevent damage to your pacemaker during the use of diathermy equipment.

Cryotherapy employs extremely cold liquified nitrogen sprayed onto a skin lesion providing what is in effect controlled frostbite. Destroying the lesion provided its not too thick. It can be useful for treating solar keratoses, and a variety of other benign skin lesions. Some early non melanoma skin cancers may be suitable to be treated with liquid nitrogen. There is a high tendency to lesion recurrence eventually. Cryotherapy is not suitable for any skin lesion that is at risk of being a melanoma therefore caution should be exercised in using it to treat pigmented lesions.

Use on the lower legs can lead to an ulcer, so this is a site where all due care is required.

Because of the very low temperature the cryotherapy may result in some discomfort during the freezing process and for one to two hours after.

Cryotherapy has the advantage for being a relatively inexpensive procedure and is relatively available in most general practice and skin clinic in Australia.

Using whole body photography to record digitally a fingerprint of our moles is a useful objective tool in anyone at high risk of melanoma especially if they have many moles or large moles. Using computer software and a visual review by a doctor subsequent images can be compared to baseline with any new or changed lesion being highlighted. A dermoscopic assessment of the highlighted moles means a targeted approach to exclude melanoma results.

Annual to second alternate year comparisons complement a full body skin check performed at some time in between the mapping.

Also moles at risk of developing melanoma with them can be photographed as a base line and can be compared from time to time to establish any early subtle changes which may be difficult to detect on dermoscopy alone.

Any photographs taken are securely stored for privacy and confidentiality

PDT is used for the treatment of precancerous and early non-melanoma skin cancer. It is a 2-step procedure. In the first step, the photosensitiser is applied to the skin and it is allowed to be taken up by the target cells. The second step involves the activation of the photosensitiser using high energy LED light panels directed toward the target area. The treatment is highly selective, with minimal damage to adjacent healthy skin structures.

The following day, the area treated will be red and somewhat uncomfortable, and requires regular application of a moisturising and soothing product. Avoidance of sunlight is necessary for the two days following the treatment. Most people are able to return to their normal work after 7 to 10 days.

The doctors at Qutis have been using photodynamic therapy since early 2011 and so have considerable experience using this treatment.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of this treatment from a non biased source, please click the links below:

 

Photodynamic Therapy Brochure (How Photodynamic Therapy works and how it can benefit you) – Download Form (1.7mb)

Skin Cancer: Preventive photodynamic therapy information 

Recent advances in the prevention and treatment of skin cancer using photodynamic therapy