OUR GP SKIN SPECIALISTS
Our skin cancer services are lead by Dr Bob Shirlaw who has extended training in the detection and management of skin cancers. In 2016 we opened a new operating suite to increase the number of surgical procedures we can offer and enable Dr Bob to accept referrals from other doctors in the area.
Dr Bob Shirlaw FRACG Certificate in Skin Cancer Medicine Certificate in Advanced Skin Cancer Surgery
Dr Kenny Loi FRACGP Certificate in Dermoscopy
Dr Frances Bradshaw FRACGP Certificate in Skin Cancer Surgery
Dr Man-Ying Kung FRACGP Certificate in Skin Cancer Medicine
Dr Emma Phillip FRACGP Certificate in Skin Cancer Medicine
Dr John Whitchurch FRACGP Certificate in Skin Cancer Medicine
Skin Checks are recommended annually for everyone over 40 years. As a part of your skin check, you will be required to undress to your underwear so the doctor can complete a thorough examination of your skin. Dermoscopy is used to magnify and identify high risk lesions which may need excision or biopsy. Only high risk lesions need to be excised. This reduces the need for unnecessary surgery.
If you have a spot on your skin that you are worried about – see your doctor. Skin checks for suspicious spots can be made at any time with your doctor. Please book your next skin check appointment at reception. When you book, tell the receptionist that you are concerned you may have a skin cancer. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible.
Skin checks will be charged according to the length of consultation. Medicare rebates apply. The Medicare rebate for excisions depends on site, size and histology. There may be a private charge for dressings which do not attract a Medicare rebate.
Please contact reception about fees.
SUN SAFETY TIPS
- Keep out of the sun between 11am & 3pm
- Wear a hat and sunglasses outside
- Wear a rash shirt when swimming
- Apply factor 30 sun block every 2 hours
Patients at higher risk are:
- People with fairer skin
- People that have had a lot of sun exposure
- People with personal or family history of skin cancer
SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER
Look out for lesions which
- Do not heal
- Grow bigger
- Get darker
- Become more irregular
- Get scaly
- Get itchy
Note – Skin cancers may be any colour. They do not have to be brown or black, some can be clear.
Your doctor may prescribe a cream or ointment to treat small keratoses or ‘sun spots.’ These should be applied directly and have to be used for 3—6 weeks. They can cause redness and irritation of the skin.
Small individual skin cancers may be treated with liquid nitrogen. This is a freezing spray which is applied for 30 seconds. It causes blistering and can take 1-2 weeks to heal. A repeat application may be required.
Your doctor may suggest a biopsy where a small sample is taken of a lesion and is sent to the lab for histology. If it comes back clear, no further treatment is required. If it is a skin cancer the whole lesions will need to be excised.
If a skin cancer is suspected, your doctor may recommend excision. This will require local anaesthetic and stitches. There will be a scar. The size of the scar depends on the size of the lesion. Sometimes the wound can get infected and the stitches may break down which will leave a wide scar.Your doctor will explain all of this and will ask you to sign a consent for the surgery.
Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for treatment of a suspected cancer.
A waterproof dressing will be applied to the wound. It should be kept clean and dry for 48 hours.You should not undertake any activity which could pull the stitches as the wound cannot be re-stitched. There may be a little bleeding. If there is a lot of bleeding or the wound becomes red or infected, come back to see your doctor as soon as possible.