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Skin Cancer Services

With the incidence of skin cancer on the rise, our dermatology team is clearly focused on prevention and early detection of skin cancers.

 

We are experts in diagnosis, treatment and management of skin cancer, genetic disorders and other complex skin related conditions and diseases. If you have noticed any unusual changes to your skin, it is important that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, who can provide a comprehensive skin evaluation.

 

Skin/Mole checks

Moles (naevi), can appear anywhere on the skin. Most moles are benign, but a change in size, shape, colour or texture could be indicative of a malignant change.

 

Dermatologists are specially trained to perform thorough whole body skin/mole checks to detect and treat skin cancers such as basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas.

 

Depending on your skin type and what is found on skin check, a dermatologist will advise you as to how frequently you will need a skin check. If you are concerned about a skin lesion such as a mole, cyst, wart or skin tag, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn’t cancerous and/or may surgically remove it.

 

Skin Cancer Treatments

Sydney Skin dermatologists specialise in the removal of skin cancers, benign moles, skin tags and other benign lesions using a variety of standard dermatologic and plastic surgery techniques. We conduct these surgeries in our fully equipped and modern procedure rooms under local anaesthetic.

 

Our nurses are available for wound checks, dressing changes, removal of sutures and patient education on wound care.

 

Shave Excision Shave excision is a simple procedure done to remove growths such as lesions, tumours, and moles on the skin. It is usually performed under local anaesthesia. The lesion is sent for analysis to determine whether their is any malignant growth present.

 

Skin Flap or Graft Surgery Skin flaps are required for skin cancers that are either too large for simple excisions or that are in sites where simple closure is not possible. Some larger cancers when removed leave a defect in the skin which then needs to be covered. This can be done by stretching adjacent skin over the defect (flap), or placing a patch of skin from another site into the defect (a ‘graft’).

 

Surgical Excision For certain skin cancers simple excision is all that is required. A mole or lesion is removed under a local anaesthetic which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The wound is then carefully stitched with dissolving and non- dissolving sutures.

 

Cryosurgery In this technique, liquid nitrogen is applied to freeze and kill the abnormal cancer cells.

 

Curettage Curettage is a treatment involving controlled scraping of the skin. The doctor uses an instrument called a curette to scrape off outer layers of the skin. The base layers of the skin are usually left intact. From there the skin can regenerate and heal. Limited numbers of skin cancers can be treated with the curettage technique. These are selected skin cancers that grow only on the outer skin surface. Cancers growing into the deepest skin layers are not suitable for treatment with curettage.

 

Mohs’ Surgery This is a very specialized form of skin cancer surgery. This surgery is used predominately on more aggressive cancers or those in high risk and delicate areas; such as those on the nose, ears and eyelids and lips. In this method the surgeon removes a small piece of the tumour mass and examines it under the microscope during surgery. The procedure of removing and examining continues until the cancerous growth is removed and the skin sample is free of cancer cells. It is also preferred for large tumours that recur after previous treatment.

 

Non-Surgical treatments

Some early skin cancers can be treated by non-surgical methods such as topical creams (Efudix, Picato, Metvix) and photo-dynamic therapy.

 

5-Flouro-Uracil cream (Efudix) is used when there are many keratoses on the face, scalp, arms or legs. The cream is applied onto facial skin once or twice daily for two to four weeks. The treated areas become red, raw and uncomfortable. Healing starts when the cream is discontinued, and the eventual result is usually much smoother skin.

 

Topical Imiquimod + Picato gel This is an immune-stimulating cream that causes the body to attack the precancerous cells and destroy them. It is typically applied daily or second daily for 3 weeks. It results in inflammation of the lesions which are usually cured once the treatment is completed. The advantages include the fact that broad areas can be treated.

 

Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) PDT is a treatment option for widespread solar keratoses. This involves applying a photosensitiser (a porphyrin chemical) to the affected area prior to exposing it to a strong source of visible light. The treated area develops a burn which then heals over a couple of weeks.