The GPs at The Blackwood Clinic are highly trained in the diagnosis of cancerous, pre-cancerous and benign skin lesions. We do this by conducting full 'head to toe' skin checks. When assessing skin lesions, we consider how it has changed over time, as well as how it looks and feels. We often utilise a dermatoscope, a specialised tool that allows 10x optical magnification of the skin, allowing us to pick up extra features, not visible with the naked eye.
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and the majority of these cancers are caused by UV exposure. The commonest skin cancers are squamous or basal cell carcinomas (SCCs and BCCs). Early identification of these cancers is crucial, such that the cancer can be removed simply and easily. Sometimes, subtypes of these cancers may be amenable to creams.
Melanoma, while not as common as SCCs and BCCs, is much more aggressive disease and can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma causes 1600+ deaths per year in Australia, and is the third most common cancer. Identifying and removing a melanoma at an early stage, is nearly always successful in treating the cancer.
If you find that you have a skin lesion that is new, changing, bleeding, itching or painful, we strongly advise that you see your GP promptly. Sometimes cancers manifest simply as a non-healing wound or ulcer. It is important to note that melanoma can develop in areas not exposed to the sun, even under your nails or soles.
We recommend skin checks for everyone, even if you grew up outside of Australia. More frequent skin checks may be required if:
- you have had blistering sun burns
- you work outdoors, or you have spent lots of time in the sun
- you have used solariums
- you have a history of melanoma or other skin cancers
- you have a family history of melanoma
- you have a large number of moles
- you take medication to lower your immune system
We usually require a 30 minute appointment for a complete skin check.
If your GP identifies a skin cancer, it will usually require an excision. Our GPs are trained to perform these procedures, and the majority of these skin lesions can be safely removed in our clinic. Occasionally, for more difficult skin excisions we will utilise our trusted local network of Plastic Surgeons.
There are many different causes of rashes, ranging from infections through to allergy through to potentially life threatening illness (such as meningococcal disease). If you have a rash occur please see your GP to get further advice. Please let the reception staff know if you (or your child) has a fever, or think you might have chicken pox, measles or are feeling very unwell.
Acne is a common problem with young people and thankfully it usually resolves as we get older. At The Blackwood Clinic, we realise the effect acne can have on our lives, and we can tailor a treatment plan for you, whether you have mild, moderate or severe acne. There are many treatment options available in both topical or oral formulations.
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