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Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Skin cancers that are diagnosed and treated early can be cured.

Treatment

Almost all skin cancers can be treated successfully if diagnosed and treated early. However if not treated, some types of skin cancer can be fatal.

Skin cancers are almost always removed. In more advanced skin cancers, some of the surrounding tissue may also be removed to make sure that all of the cancerous cells have been taken out.

The most common treatment for skin cancer is surgery to remove the cancer (usually under a local anaesthetic). Common skin cancers can be treated with ointments or radiotherapy. Skin cancer can also be removed with cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen to rapidly freeze the cancer off), curettage (scraping) or cautery (burning).

Prevention

When protecting yourself from the sun you should:

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when taking part in extended outdoor activity
  • Apply large amounts of sunscreen to your entire body before going outside and reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating, especially in peak time.
  • Apply sunblock to hotspots like neck, face, forearms and the ears
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used only babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See a doctor at least once a year for a professional skin exam. Visit our Asquith doctors to book a skin check today.

Causes

Sunburn causes 95% of melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

In Australia, 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 5 teenagers are sunburnt on an average summer weekend. Many people get sunburnt when they are taking part in sports and activities or at the beach or pool.

Sunburn is also common on cooler or overcast days, as many people mistakenly believe UV radiation is not as strong. This is untrue as you can still be sunburnt when the temperature is cool.

Sun exposure that doesn’t result in burning but can still cause damage to skin cells and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Evidence suggests that regular exposure to UV radiation year after year leads to skin cancer.

 In 2015, 13,694 Australians were diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma is the third most common cancer.  Non-melanoma skin cancers include squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.

Melanoma skin cancer appears on skin that is over-exposed to the sun and in rare cases it can appear on skin that is never exposed to the sun. It can be seen on old moles and spots or appear as a new spot. Basal cell carcinoma and Squamous Cancer

Visit our Waverton Medical centre or call to book a skin check on (02) 9023 9999

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