Skin Cancer

Our Approach

Our skin cancer service is comprehensive; ranging from skin checks by a qualified doctor to complex skin cancer surgery by the specialist team. We deal with skin cancers on all areas of the body but have a strong focus on skin cancers of the head and neck. This is a common location for skin cancer and often requires specialised surgery.

Skin Examinations

Early detection and treatment is the key to the cure of skin cancer. We recommend a complete examination of your skin but we also offer single or multi lesion skin checks. A full skin check involves asking you some questions to determine your risk factors for skin cancer. The skin examination is from the scalp to toes checking all your moles and other skin spots. You will be required to undress to underwear. A nurse chaperone is available for these examinations. Your skin is examined using a dermatoscope (skin microscope). This instrument gives us more information on the detail and structure of skin lesions enabling greater accuracy in diagnosis. Digital photographs can be taken through the dermatoscope of suspicious skin lesions.

If you are a high risk patient for skin cancer we may recommend total body photography/mole mapping. Photographs are taken of the high risk skin areas of your body and used as a reference for future skin examinations. Some treatments may be carried out at the time of your skin examination e.g. cryotherapy or punch biopsy. Lesions that require excision are scheduled for another appointment.

For most people we recommend annual skin checks. We prefer that makeup and nail polish are not worn for skin examinations as it may camouflage lesions of concern.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical excision/mole removal

Partial skin biopsy

Cyst removal

Margin control surgery

Facial Reconstruction & Scar Revision

Non Surgical treatments

Cryotherapy

Topical chemotherapy or immunotherapy

Types of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

This is the most common type of skin cancer. In general it is a less aggressive form of skin cancer and easily cured. It is very rare for BCC to spread beyond the skin unlike SCC’s and melanoma. The exception though are aggressive forms of BCC on the face which can spread to deeper structures e.g. behind the eye

Click on Basal Cell Carcinoma ( BCC) to find out more.

 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma would be the 2nd most common skin cancer we see. Like BCC it has low and high risk forms and does have the potential to spread to lymph nodes. Facial sites are particularly high risk for this. It can be fatal but that is rare.

Click on Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) to find out more.

Melanoma

This is a cancer of the melanocytes which are cells that produce melanin and give the skin its pigment. They typically present as a pigmented spot but there are also non pigmented forms which may present as a pink lump. Melanoma has potential to spread beyond the skin to lymph nodes and other body organs. The thicker the melanoma the greater the risk for spread hence early detection is vital.

In New Zealand, the majority of people are diagnosed with melanoma at an early stage. The outlook for most people diagnosed with early stage melanoma is good.

Click on Melanoma to find out more.

Skin Cancer Info

Causes of skin cancer

Prevention

Detecting skin cancer