What is The Skin Clinic?
We have a dedicated skin clinic, which is a complete skin cancer diagnosis and treatment facility with specialised equipment and two purpose built treatment rooms.
Our digital mole scanning equipment enables us to store images and compare changes over time for complete and thorough management of your skin health.
Early recognition and accurate diagnosis of skin cancer is of utmost importance in skin cancer treatment. We offer nonsurgical and surgical treatments from simple excisions to more complex reconstructive options.
Advanced Skin Cancer Practice
We now have accredited skin cancer practitioners working from the Mullumbimby Comprehensive Medical Centre skin clinic. Specialist plastic surgeon Dr Isolde Hertess and skin cancer medicine and general practitioner Dr Michael Stapelberg encompass the unique combination of skin cancer practitioner and easily accessible specialist plastic and reconstructive surgical services within the same clinic.
When would I need to see a Skin Specialist?
It is important to get your skin checked regularly by a qualified medical professional – at least once a year, or every few months if you are at high-risk of skin cancer or have been diagnosed with skin cancer previously.
Routine self-examinations are also a good way to monitor your own skin in between skin checks, but should not be relied upon to catch every suspicious spot.
You are at risk of developing skin cancer if any of the following apply:
- You have many moles
- There is a family history of skin cancer
- You have had excess UV exposure or sunburns
- You have have fair skin or are over 40
Melanomas can develop suddenly at any age. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Our doctors are highly experienced in the diagnosis and management of skin cancer.
Skin cancer can almost always be cured – if detected early.
Health funds and Medicare rebates are available when indicated.
How long is a Skin Check consultation?
A comprehensive skin check takes around 15 minutes.
No referral is needed to see a skin specialist.
What will happen in a Skin Check?
History is taken by the doctor to determine your risk group for skin cancer and melanoma, followed by examining the entire skin in good light, with a closer look of some pigmented spots with a dermoscope, which magnifies the spots so they can be better diagnosed.
Touching skin spots also helps with diagnosis, to check it if they are firm, or soft for example.
Occasionally skin lesions might need to be photographed and followed up over several months.
A head-to-toe skin check with a qualified skin cancer doctor is the only way to know if you have a skin cancer.
You will be required to undress to your underwear. A gown can be provided for your comfort.
The doctor will examine your head, face, neck, body, legs, feet, toes, arms, hands, and fingers.
Genital areas are not routinely examined; however, skin cancers can develop in any area of the body and you should inform the doctor about any suspicious spots under your underwear. The doctor will only check these areas if you request them to do so.
Your skin will first be examined with a Maggie Lamp (a bright illuminated magnifying glass).
A Dermatoscope (a special skin microscope) will be used to help make a decision regarding a suspicious skin lesion or mole.
If the doctor finds a suspicious spot, a photograph will be taken and filed in your medical record.
Photographs are stored in your medical record for comparison at a later skin check. You will be asked to sign a form regarding any other specific use of your photos. The release of your photos for a second medical opinion, teaching or any internet usage will not be released without your permission.
A suspicious skin lesion may require a biopsy. A biopsy is a sample of the skin taken as a small punch, a shave or an incision or excision.
It is important to get your skin checked regularly by a qualified medical professional – at least once a year, or every few months if you are at high-risk of skin cancer or have been diagnosed with skin cancer previously. Routine self-examinations are also a good way to monitor your own skin in between skin checks, but should not be relied upon to catch every suspicious spot.
Do I need to get fully undressed?
Exams are performed with the patient keeping their underwear on. Because some skin cancers like melanoma can develop where the sun does not reach, the patient might be asked to move underwear aside for a brief moment for examination of breasts or buttocks. This is done by the patient, and only if the patient is comfortable with it.
What is a biopsy of a skin lesion?
Most skin cancers can be dealt with inside the skin clinic. Our team has many years of surgical experience and most skin cancers are removed under local anaesthetic in our clinic, with good cosmetic results. Only under rare circumstances does a patient need to be referred.
Do children need to be checked?
Skin cancer in children is rare but melanoma can affect a child. If the child has many moles, or there is a strong family history of melanoma, or if a parent worries about a childs’ mole, then it is recommended to perform a skin check on the child.