Our Medical Director Dr Anthony Rixon is a dedicated skin cancer Dr in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer and believes that no one should die from a skin cancer. He ensures that all patients at Main Street Cosmetic and Skin are aware that early detection saves lives and that they should know their own skin and have regular skin checks. At least two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. Skin cancers account for approximately 80% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. Melanoma is the most diagnosed cancer each year for people aged 15-44 years old (Cancer Council Victoria).
Our clinic offers private, comfortable and warm facilities to ensure your dignity is maintained and you feel cared for and respected. Should you require further investigations or treatment, Dr Rixon has extensive experience in the removal of skin cancers and can perform these procedures in our purpose built theatre.
The three common types of skin cancer that can be cured
There are three common types of skin cancer, Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). If diagnosed and treated early a large majority of Melanoma, SCC ad BCC can be cured. It is important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you so changes will be quickly noticed.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and may appear without warning. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, even the soles of the feet. Melanoma can spread very quickly and once it penetrates below the surface of the skin it can be deadly. Early detection of Melanoma is therefor paramount in successfully treating the cancer.
Causes of skin cancer
Sunshine and light are good for us and we need it to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D forms in the skin when it is exposed to UV radiation from sunlight. We need Vitamin D to maintain good health, in particular to keep our bones and muscles strong and healthy.
However too much sun can be DANGEROUS!! Overexposure to UV radiation permanently damages the DNA in our skin cells and this damage continues to worsen over time, causing the various skin cancers to form.
How can I be certain?
A melanoma changes its appearance quickly so how do we know when such changes have occurred?
A major technological advancement in melanoma detection, the MoleMax© system is now available at Main Street Cosmetic & Skin and may help alleviate your concerns.
Also self skin checking is integral to monitor and potential changes in suspect spots.
As per the Cancer Council Website
The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death.
It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection.
It’s important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so that you notice any changes. Skin cancers rarely hurt and are much more frequently seen than felt.
Develop a regular habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles.
How to check your skin in the mirror
Make sure you check your entire body as skin cancers can sometimes occur in parts of the body not exposed to the sun, for example soles of the feet, between fingers and toes and under nails.
Undress completely and make sure you have good light.
Use a mirror to check hard to see spots, like your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check it for you.
These are some changes to look out for when checking your skin for signs of any cancer:
- New moles.
- Moles that increases in size.
- An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
- A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied.
- A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
- The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated.
- Moles that itch or tingle.
- Moles that bleed or weep.
- Spots that look different from the others.
What to look for
There are three main types of skin cancer- melanoma (including nodular melanoma), basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Most deadly form of skin cancer.
If left untreated can spread to other parts of the body.
Appears as a new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape.
Can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun.
Grows quickly.Looks different from common melanomas. Raised and even in colour.
Many are red or pink and some are brown or black.
They are firm to touch and dome-shaped.
After a while they begin to bleed and crust.
Basal cell carcinoma
Most common, least dangerous form of skin cancer.
Red, pale or pearly in colour, appears as a lump or dry, scaly area.
May ulcerate or fail to completely heal.
Grows slowly, usually on areas that are often exposed to the sun.
Squamous cell carcinoma
A thickened, red scaly spot that may bleed easily, crust or ulcerate.
Grows over some months, usually on areas often exposed to the sun.
More likely to occur in people over 50 years of age.
The ABCD of melanoma detection can be a useful guide when checking your skin.
A is for Asymmetry
Look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.
B is for Border
A spot with a spreading or irregular edge (notched).
C is for Colour
Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.
D is for Diameter
Look for spots that are getting bigger.