FAQs

Appointments & Procedures

  • What exactly is a skin check?

    We’ll be looking for changes to your skin and anything that doesn’t look right, so we’ll have to study your skin quite closely. We do that with a dermatascope, which we hold up to your skin, and which can take photos too. All you have to do is lie there and relax.

  • Why choose a SunDoctors Skin Cancer Clinic over a GP?

    Importantly, SunDoctors offers comprehensive and thorough prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of skin cancer. All of our Doctors are highly competent in skin cancer medicine, have completed extra training in skin cancer treatment and management and have a wealth of experience in skin cancer diagnosis.

    Additionally, a great deal of precision equipment and resources are required for skin cancer diagnosis, treatment and management and can be quite costly and are often not available at many general practices. Understandable and personal information and educational materials on skin cancer prevention, treatment and management is made available to all patients and the general community.

  • Do I need a referral?

    Most of our Doctors are General Practitioners with special expertise in Skin Cancer, hence referrals are not necessary. Some doctors are specialists and do require a referral for maximum rebate from Medicare.

  • What happens when I arrive?

    Please report to reception upon arrival. During your consultation the Doctor will examine the skin on the face, neck, legs, arms, torso, fingers, and toes and on the soles of the feet and palms of hands. For this to be conducted you will need to remove all clothing except for undergarments. Please limit or do not apply any make-up, fake-tan or nail polish on the day. Skin cancers can occur in areas which are not exposed. Please inform the Doctor if you have any hidden lesion you would like checked.

  • How long does it take?

    An appointment generally lasts around 15 minutes. Longer appointments may be required for specific procedures.

  • Is it safe? Is it painful?

    A skin check is completely safe and pain free.

  • What will happen if something suspicious is found?

    If a lesion of concern is discovered, the examining Doctor will discuss possible options with you. The doctor may recommend a biopsy of the lesion to determine a diagnosis or may recommend a treatment.

  • How do I book an appointment?

    Either phone one of our clinics for an appointment or click on the on-line booking icon on the right of this page.

  • Do I need a referral for Sundoctors?

    No, just give us a call on Phone: 137546, or book through our website at sundoctors.com.au. It’s that easy!

  • How will I know it’s time for my next skin check?

    It’s easy. We’ll send you a reminder.

  • I’d prefer to have a female doctor. Is that possible?

    That’s no problem at all. Just let us know when you make your appointment, and we can organise that for you.

General Skin Cancer Queries

  • I usually have to wait weeks to see my doctor. How easy is it to get an appointment as SunDoctors?

    Give us a call today, and we’ll get you in tomorrow. Done!

  • If I need a procedure, who will do it, and will I have to go to hospital?

    All our doctors are highly qualified and are trained to do most skin cancer procedures right here in our clinic. But if you do need specialist surgery, they will refer you directly and immediately.

  • What does a skin check entail?

    Each doctor and clinic is different but most checks will take 10-15 minutes. Wear loose clothing and no make-up. You may be asked to strip to your underwear. Don’t forget to mention to the doctor if there are any spots in hidden places – remember you can get skin cancer in areas that are not directly exposed to the sun.

  • How often should I have my skin checked?

    This depends on numerous factors including a family or personal history of skin cancers, history of sunburn, occupation and your skin type. Some people need to be seen every month or two while others only every few years.

  • Is all skin cancer deadly?

    No, most skin cancers are only on the surface – in fact the most common skin cancer, Basal cell Cancer, rarely kills anyone. Even melanomas, the more dangerous type of skin cancers can be easily cured if picked up early.

  • What are the risk factors associated with skin cancer?

    Having pale skin with lots of moles and a history of sunburn will increase your risk of skin cancer. And if you’ve already had skin cancer, or someone in your family has, that also increases the risk.

  • Are all new skin spots skin cancer?

    No, most new skin spots are benign e.g. freckles, aging spots, pimples.

  • What should i watch out for?

    Spots to watch out for can be dark or pink. With dark spots, remember the ABCDE? With pink spots remember that any crusty, pink, ulcerated lesion that grows or bleeds over a few months may be a concern and should be checked.

    A is for ASYMMETRY:
    One-half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.

    image001

    B is for BORDER irregularity:
    The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.

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    C is for COLOUR variation:
    The colour is not the same all over, but may have differing shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue.

    image003

    D is for DIAMETER:
    The area is larger than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger.

    image004

    E is for EVOLVING:
    Changes in size, shape, colour, elevation, or another trait (such as itching, bleeding or crusting).(This last point is likely the strongest of all of the warning signs)

  • How will you know if my skin has changed?

    During our skin checks we take photographs, so that when you come for your next skin check, we can compare them with what we see. We also take detailed notes of everything and our specialised technology actually highlights skin changes, so that we can check them for you.

  • I’m worried about a mole on my back. What should I do?

    Come in and let one of our doctors take a look. The sooner you get it checked, the better.

  • I think one of my moles has changed colour. What should I do?

    Come in and let one of our doctors take a look. The sooner you get it checked, the better.

  • I think one of my moles has changed shape. What should I do?

    Come in and let one of our doctors take a look. The sooner you get it checked, the better.

  • I have had this spot for a week – what should I do?

    Many people get spots that come and go. Some are scratches or pimples or benign sores. Most will disappear after a few weeks. Usually I tell patients to be concerned if a spot grows and does not disappear after 6-8 weeks – then it’s time to come and see me.

  • There’s skin cancer in my family. Does that mean I’m at risk?

    Yes, and the closer the relative, the higher the risk. So you and your family should stay sun safe, have regular skin checks and have all skin changes checked immediately. Early detection and treatment of skin cancers really does save lives.

  • I’m quite fair skinned. Does that increase my risk of skin cancer?

    Yes, I’m afraid it does. But there’s lots you can do to help keep yourself safe. Stay in the shade as much as possible, keep your skin covered up, always wear sunscreen and a hat when you’re outside and have regular skin checks.

  • Do people with dark skin get skin cancer?

    Yes they do. So whatever your skin type, stay in the shade as much as possible, keep your skin covered up, always wear sunscreen and a hat when you’re outside and have regular skin checks.

Prevention

  • What’s the best way to avoid skin cancer?

    Remember slip, slop slap? Now it’s slip, slop, slap, seek and slide! So that’s slip on a shirt, slop on the 30+ sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade or shelter and slide on your sunnies. And have regular skin checks, because early detection could help you to avoid skin cancer.

  • How often should I apply sunscreen?

    To get the best protection, re-apply sunscreen every three to four hours, and straight away after you’ve been in water. And don’t forget your hat and rashy!

  • What should I look for in a sunscreen?

    Always choose a 30+ sunscreen or one with a higher SPF factor if you can. And don’t forget to use a waterproof sunscreen if you’re swimming or sweating lots. Zinc based sunscreens will give you the best protection and last the longest. Look out for the Cancer Council’s logo, for the best sunscreens.

Children and Pregnancy

  • Should kids have their skin checked?

    Most kids shouldn’t need their skin checked until they’re around 18 years of age. However, if there is something you’re worried about, please come and see us, and we’d be happy to check your little one’s skin.

  • What should I do about my children’s skin?

    Children’s skin is very sensitive to the sun and it is thought that early sun-burn in life is a significant risk factor for skin cancer later in life. Keep your kids out of the sun as much as possible and use kids-type sun-screen.

  • Should I have my children’s skin checked?

    Although skin cancer is rare in kids, this can occur. Although I do not recommend full body checks for kids, if there are spots that are growing out of proportion or more irregularly than they should, these should be checked by a doctor.

  • Can you have skin cancer checks during & after pregnancy?

    A skin cancer check before pregnancy is helpful in order to know what your skin looks like before the changes and hormones involved with pregnancy. A ‘baseline’, if you like.

    During and after pregnancy (including breastfeeding) a skin check is safe and actually advisable as the skin on many women changes in that period. This is due to physical stretch, but also the actions of the pregnancy hormones on skin pigment and moles.

    There is no compelling evidence regarding the effect of pregnancy on the risk of melanoma development, but a skin check is utterly safe to do and may reveal changes that need monitoring.

    The phrase: ‘if you don’t look, you don’t find’ is as true during pregnancy as at any other time….and your health is vital at this time and for looking after your new child in the future.