Te Rapu Oranga The place to seek health

Skin Update – Do you need a Full Skin Check?

Here in New Zealand we have the highest skin cancer rates in the world and at the Tahunanui Medical Centre we are able to offer a range of services to help prevent, detect and treat skin cancers. Early diagnosis of skin cancers lead to the best outcomes with most skin cancers able to be cured with early treatment.

It is important to get any skin spot that is changing in size, thickness, colour, shape or texture or that is irregular in shape checked out as soon as possible, especially if it is bigger than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser).   A spot or sore that itches or hurts, crusts or scabs, ulcerates or bleeds or fails to heal within 3 weeks should also be checked.

All our doctors are able to assess any spots you may be worried about, we utilise a range of techniques including dermoscopy (skin microscopy using a specialized scope) to assess skin lesions and are able to offer advice, monitoring and treatment of skin cancers and referrals to surgeons and dermatologists if required.

Some people are at a higher than usual risk of developing skin cancers and can benefit from a full skin check.  This includes people with a history of skin cancers (melanoma and non-melanoma), high levels of sun exposure (or tanning bed exposure) especially those with outdoor jobs, people on immunosuppressant medications (e.g. after organ transplant) and people with a history of sun damage and sun burns.  At the Tahunanui Medical Centre we are now offering 30 minute full skin checks which involves a head-to-toe skin check using a dermoscope, mapping of any concerning spots and digital photography (including dermoscopic photos) to enhance diagnosis and enable close monitoring.

We are fully equipped to offer minor surgery procedures including biopsy and excision of skin lesions.  We also have liquid nitrogen for cryotherapy and an electrocautery/diathermy unit.

If you would like to book in for a 30 minute head-to-toe full skin check or would like more information including pricing please ring and speak to one of our receptionists (these appointments are currently not able to be booked through the online booking system).

Article written by Dr Katie Maver.  Dr Maver has a special interest in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment.  She has attained a Certificate in Dermoscopy through the Skin Cancer College of Australasia and is working towards further qualifications in this field.

References/Further information:

https://www.sunsmart.org.nz/skin-cancer