Education

Are you at higher risk?

If you identify with any of the following you are at a higher risk of skin cancer.

  • You previously had skin cancer
  • You have a family history of skin cancer
  • You have a skin type that burns easily or is sensitive to UV light
  • You have a history of severe sunburn, particularly as a child
  • You have used a solarium in the past, particularly under the age of 30
  • You have a large number of moles on your body
  • You work outdoors
  • You regularly pursue an outdoor sport such as cricket, golf, surfing, running or swimming

Anyone with a risk factor for skin cancer should consider getting a whole body skin examination. Skin cancers can appear even on areas of the body that are not exposed to the sun.

The importance of early detection:

N

Detecting sun spots early means potentially avoiding cancer

N

Sun spots and skin cancers that are identified and treated early have a better outcome than most other types of cancer.

N

Detecting sun spots early means potentially avoiding cancer

N

Sun spots and skin cancers that are identified and treated early have a better outcome than most other types of cancer.

What changes to look for

Education Are you at higher risk
  • New moles
  • Moles that increase in size
  • An outline of a mole that becomes notched
  • Change in colour on a spot from brown to black or is varied
  • A spot that develops a lump within it or becomes raised
  • Rough, scaly or ulcerated surfaces begin to develop
  • Moles that itch or tingle
  • Moles that bleed or weep
  • Spots that look different from your other spots

PREVENTION

Sunsmart logo

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the major cause of skin cancer. UV damage also causes sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage. The good news is you can prevent damage- – and skin cancer  – be being SunSmart.

For best protection, we recommend a combination of sun protection measures: 

Slip

Slip

Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible
  • Wear a shirt with a collar rather than a single top, when swimming, wear a wet suit or rash vest
slop

Slop

Slop on sunscreen
  • SPF30+ sunscreens filter out 97% of UV radiation. Use SPF50 where possible
  • Sunscreen will only filter our sun if enough sunscreen is used and it is used properly
  • Sunscreen should be applied over all areas of exposed skin 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours (sooner if you’ve been swimming or sweating)
  • Try to use water resistant sunscreens
  • Apply sunscreen liberally to each limb, the front and back of the body and the face, neck, ears, hands and feet
  • Should sunscreen cause irritation discuss this with the Doctor or staff
slap

Slap

Wear on a hat
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your face, back of the neck, eyes and ears
seek

Seek

Seek shade
  • 11am – 3pm is when the sun’s UV rays are their harshest, try your best to seek especially during these hours
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Slide

Slide on some
  • Long term exposure to UV radiation can cause cataracts and skin cancers of various tissues in the eye
  • Using sunglasses which wrap around the face and are close fitting will provide the maximum protection. There is an Australian Standard for  sunglasses

TYPES OF SKIN CANCER

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer in humans and accounts for about 70% of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Tumors often develop on regions of the body that receive regular sun exposure such as the face, neck, shoulders and back.

BCC’s grow slowly over months or years and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. The earlier a BCC is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. If left untreated it can grow deeper into the skin and damage nearby tissue, making treatment more difficult.

Symptoms of BCC may include:

  • a pearly lump
  • a scaly, dry area that is shiny and pale or bright pink in colour. It may bleed or itch.
  • Lesions appear as pearly nodules in various colors, including brown, black and blue.

There are several different sub-types of BCC and there are several different modes of treatment. Treatment mode really depends on the size, sub-type and site on the body, and other factors in the patient’s history. One mode of treatment may be appropriate for one type but not indicated for another type.

Treatments include surgery, chemotherapeutic creams, phototherapy, curettage and cautery (burning), cryotherapy (freezing) and radiotherapy.

photo of a skin disease detected by Bega Valley Skin Cancer clinic

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin. It is the second most common type of skin cancer and accounts for approximately 350 deaths in Australia each year.

SCC is usually not life-threatening, though it can be aggressive. Untreated squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can grow large or spread to other parts of your body particularly via the lymphatic system causing serious complications.

Symptoms may include:

  • thickened red, scaly spot
  • rapidly growing lump
  • looks like a sore that has not healed
  • may be tender to touch

SCC’s are more common as you get older and usually appear of areas of the body most exposed to the sun.

Melanoma skin disease

Melanoma

Australia has the highest incidence of malignant melanoma in the world with around 1400 Australians being diagnosed in 2017 and 1800 dying of the disease.

It is the most common cancer in the 15-45 year age group.

Melanoma is a type of cancer that forms in pigment cells (melanocytes). It is the most aggressive skin cancer and can spread to other regions in the body via the lymphatic system or bloodstream.

Melanoma can arise anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, soles of the feet, under fingernails and toenails and even in areas that have never seen sun. It can also be fast or slow growing, raised or flat.

Risk factors for the development of melanoma include:

  • Fair skin
  • Past history of melanoma
  • Family history
  • Large birthmarks

Most melanomas are curable if diagnosed early. The main factor which has been shown to increase survival in melanoma is early recognition and surgery. Once the melanoma is removed the most important indicator of whether the melanoma has spread is its depth in the skin.

 

magnifying glass
Anyone with a risk factor for skin cancer should consider getting a whole body skin examination. Skin cancers can appear even on areas of the body that are not exposed to the sun.

USE THE MELANOMA ABCDE APPROACH

If you notice a Melanocytic naevus (harmless mole) on your skin and you find it worrying, it can be helpful to think about the ABCDE of suspicious  moles:

“Please note that the ABCDE criteria is only a guide”

Most melanomas are curable if diagnosed early. The main factor which has been shown to increase survival in melanoma is early recognition and surgery. Once the melanoma is removed, the most important indicator of whether the melanoma has spread is its depth in the skin. 

Asymmetry

Asymmetry

Do the two halves of the mole look different?
Melanoma is often irregular or asymmetrical in shape.

border

Border

Borders that are poorly defined or irregular. Borders of the mole are uneven and edges are scalloped, rugged or notch.

colour

Colour

Does the colour vary from one area to another in the mole?
Melanomas can have shades of red, white or blue, but they are most often shades of tan and brown or black. Remember that changes in colour, even if it still only one colour, such as a darkening mole could also be a melanoma symptom.

diameter

Diameter / Dark colour / Different

Melanomas are typically bigger than a pencil eraser (about 6mm) when diagnosed, but they can start smaller.

A mole that is different from the others should also be considered suspicious.

evolving

Evolving / Elevation

If you notice a mole or lesion starting to increase in size or that the mole or growth is raised and has an uneven surface get it checked to see if it could be the first sign of melanoma skin cancer. You should also be on the lookout for any growing dome-shaped spots on your skin.

FROM THE MELANOMA INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA

SUNSCREEN – $33

Not all SPF 50 + Sunscreens are born equal

Propaira SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum sunscreen is a light weight lotion that protects your skin from the sun and is water resistant for up to 4 hours. It also contains niacinamide that aids with skin repair.

 

Available at reception!

Benefits

  • Ultra light lotion
  • Free of preservatives, nanoparticles, and fragrance
  • Can be used underneath your makeup
  • 4 hours Water Resistance
  • Contains Niacinamide
Pro Paira SPF50+ Sunscreen
Education What is SPF

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. This is a grading system that indicates the degree of protection provided by the sunscreen. More sun protection is provided with a higher SPF. We recommend using no less than SPF30+.

 

Applying sunscreen:

The SPF of a sunscreen can be greatly reduced if the sunscreen is applied incorrectly. Adults should apply at least one teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm, leg, and front and back of body and at least 1/2 teaspoon to the face, neck and ears. Sunscreen should be applied to at least 20 minutes before going out into the sun and should be re-applied every 2-4 hours.

How it works

Physical (Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Dioxide): this type of sunscreen acts as a physical shield between the skin and sunlight. Until recently this type of sun protection, when applied, was opaque but a new scientific process called micronisation has allowed the particles to be broken so small that when applied to the skin they become invisible.

Chemical: these types of sunscreen deactivate UV radiation that reaches the skin preventing damage caused by UV Rays.

WARNING

Sunscreen should not be used as a primary means of sun protection. The most important and effective method for avoiding skin cancer is avoiding the Sun, particularly the hottest time of the day (between 11am and 3pm). Sunscreen should be applied to complement the use of protective clothing and hats, when sun avoidance is not possible.

When did you last have your skin checked?

Bega Valley Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Clinic
Suite 7, 93 Main Street,
Merimbula Nsw 2548

MONDAY - FRIDAY: 9AM -5PM
CLOSED ON PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

LOCATION:
SUITE 7, 93 MAIN STREET,
MERIMBULA NSW 2548

www.skincancercosmeticclinic.com.au

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