Q: Who should have a skin check?
A: Anyone who is concerned about skin cancer should have a skin check. The doctor will discuss your risks with you and determine how frequently you should have a check. Because the risk is much higher in older groups, those over 50 should definitely have an annual check.
Q: How much does a skin check cost?
A: A spot check of 1-3 spots takes 15 minutes and costs $96.75. For a full 30-minute skin check the fee is $160 and for an extended skin check more than 40 minutes the fee is $195.45. The Medicare rebate covers a substantial part of this fee. Concession rates are available for pensioner and Health Care Card holders.
Q: What if the doctor finds a suspicious spot?
A: Suspicious spots may need to be biopsied. This is done in one of three ways:
1. Punch biopsy: After numbing the area with a local anaesthetic injection, a small piece of the skin containing the spot is removed with a sterile “hole punch” and then stitched to stop it bleeding
2. Shave biopsy: After local anaesthetic injection, A thin section of the suspicious spot is shaved off with a blade. It is then covered with a dressing and allowed to heal like a graze.
3. After local anaesthetic injection, the whole spot may need to be cut out and then stitched together, particularly if melanoma is expected.
Q: How will my skin cancer be treated?
A: In many cases, surgical removal (excision) is the best method. This can be done at the clinic under local anaesthetic, or for more complex removals a referral will be made to a specialist. Sometimes cream treatments are used, but only in specific circumstances.
Q: How much does excision cost?
A: The cost of excision depends on:
1. the size of the spot to be excised
2. The region of the body.
We can give you an estimate of the cost before the procedure. The fee can be upwards of $300, with a substantial rebate from Medicare. Usually, you will be charged sometime later, as often the cost is determined by the result that is reported by the testing laboratory.
Q: How long does the procedure take?
A: This is variable, but commonly between 30 and 45 minutes.
Q: Can I have a skin check and a procedure on the same day?
A: This can be done for smaller procedures, but more often will be booked into a separate procedure session.
Q: Why can I get skin cancer in areas of my body which have not been regularly exposed to the sun?
A: Ultraviolet radiation is responsible for over 90% of skin cancers, but as with most types of cancer there is more than one cause. Another important cause is inherited genes which allow cancer to develop. Also, genes can be damaged by certain environmental chemicals or pollutants which will then allow the cancer to develop.
Q: Why are the lymph nodes important?
A: When melanoma is diagnosed it can be important to know if you have any new lymph node enlargement, or if the same lymph nodes have been enlarged for years.
Read more about what happens during your skin check.
Contact us for an appointment to check your skin.