Doctors use a number of tools and techniques to examine skin thoroughly, beyond what the naked eye can see. And melanomas that are detected and treated early are cured in 90% of cases. So, in addition to self-checking regularly you should have a professional skin check once a year. It is also important to get a professional skin check by a doctor if anything suspicious appears, in addition to having your annual skin check.
Where to get your skin checked?
General Practitioner (GP)
A GP can perform a skin check and examine any lesions of concern. They are familiar with your history, can talk to you about risk factors and family history, and treat some skin cancers. They might also refer you to a dermatologist, if needed.
Skin Cancer Clinics
There are many skin cancer clinics across Australia. Skin cancer clinics are usually operated by GPs and therefore have the same level of training as a GP, but their focus is on skin cancer. Many clinics offer the latest technology for examining skin spots.
For a second opinion, or for people at high risk of melanoma, a referral to see a dermatologist is recommended. Dermatologists are doctors who have completed additional training to specialise in diagnosing and treating skin disease, including skin cancers. To see a dermatologist, you will need a referral from a GP or a skin cancer clinic. Keep in mind that there are often long waiting times to get a booking, and also be sure to ask about the fees and what is covered by Medicare.
MIA has a dermatology clinic in our building at Wollstonecraft (near North Sydney). Find out more.