There is an epidemic of skin cancer in Australia, where it occurs at two to three times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK. According to research from the Cancer Council Australia, our national enthusiasm for spending time in the sun has had some serious consequences:
- Skin cancers account for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.
- 66% of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
- 434,000+ people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year.
- 2,046 people died from skin cancer in Australia in 2012, when the most recent statistics were taken
Book a skin check consultation to discuss your options – our experienced team will advise the best approach.
About skin cancer
Actinic Keratosis (Solar Keratosis)
This is most common precancer that forms on skin damaged by chronic exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and/or indoor tanning. Solar Keratosis often appears as small dry, scaly or crusty patches of skin. They may be red, light or dark tan, white, pink, flesh-toned or a combination of colours and are sometimes raised.
Basel Cell Carcinoma
This cancer can appear on the face, ears or neck as a small pearly or waxy bump. Alternatively a flat pink, red or brown lesion can appear on the trunk of your arms or legs.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This cancer can appear as a firm red bump, or alternatively as a rough scaly flat spot that may bleed and become crusty.
This cancer type can appear as a pigmented patch or bump, but can also be red or white. It can resemble a normal mole but usually will have a more irregular appearance.
Treatment for skin cancer
Who will be doing my skin check?
At our dermatology practice, we see our patients regularly for skin checks to ensure that any skin cancers and pre-cancerous changes are identified sooner rather than later. Patients can choose to be seen by any of the following doctors:
A specialist dermatologist is a doctor who has undergone more than 4 years additional training exclusively in skin. They are the most highly trained specialist for all skin related conditions.
A dermatology registrar is a doctor who is currently completing their additional training exclusively in skin. They are the dermatologists of the future!
Skin cancer doctor
A skin cancer doctor is a doctor who has specialised as a General Practitioner and has a special interest, qualifications and experience in skin cancer. Seeing a skin cancer doctor can be an excellent way to be seen quickly as specialists usually have longer waiting periods.
Can I have treatments to reverse sun damage that's already been done?
There has been considerable research and development for skin cancer treatments over the past decade, which means that we can offer you a range of different treatment options!
These new treatments also mean that you can treat your skin cancers early, before they become dangerous and without leaving white marks from cryotherapy, or scars from surgery.
In your 20’s & 30’s is the best time to start preventative treatments.
If you have grown up in Australia, you are likely to have rough, dry or scaly patches starting to show on your skin in your 20’s & 30s. These are often actinic keratoses (AK), also known as sunspots, which are pre-cancerous lesions. Sunspots develop after years of high sun exposure, and are more common in people with fair skin.
They should not be ignored!
If you treat these with ablative lasers or photodynamic therapy, then you will be removing these sunspots before they ever turn into skin cancer. If you keep this maintained, you may find that you never need to have skin cancer surgery!
I think I have skin cancer - Do I need surgery, or are there other options?
For certain skin cancers, surgery is the most appropriate option. However, for more superficial or pre-cancerous lesions, we also offer a unique combination of the latest treatment options in energy based devices.
Laser Treatment of Skin Cancers
We are fortunate enough to have one of the world’s leading laser dermatologists at Brisbane Skin, Dr Shobhan Manoharan, who specialises in the use of the latest technology of CO2 laser treatment to remove skin cancers without the need for surgery.
Pre-cancerous lesions and certain types of non-melanoma skin cancer of the face and lip can be treated with CO2 laser by Dr Manoharan, and then sunspots maintained with lighter Fraxel laser treatments to prevent the development of further skin cancers.
Suitable for pre-cancerous lesions and certain types of superficial non-melanoma skin cancer, photo-dynamic therapy is an excellent alternative to traditional topical applications which can take up to 6 weeks to take effect. It requires 1-2 treatments, spaced 2 weeks apart and has much less downtime and side effects to other traditional treatments.
Topical creams are an effective and cost-efficient way to treat early stage pre-cancerous lesions and some non-melanoma skin cancers. Treatment can take between 6 to 8 weeks and need to be carefully monitored to ensure there are no adverse reactions.
Cryotherapy is a traditional treatment for individual skin cancer lesions, however the risk of scarring is considerable and the aesthetic outcome is not desirable. We recommend this for non-visible areas of the body only and mainly for sunspots, not skin cancer.
Many skin cancers will require surgery due to the type of skin cancer or the level to which it has progressed before you visit us. We assess and treat Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma with the most appropriate surgical techniques, including complex flaps and grafts as required. Our surgical suites provide a comforting experience for all skin cancer surgical patients.
We also routinely follow our surgery with world-leading scar treatment procedures to ensure the best possible aesthetic outcome.