Skin Cancer Clinic Melbourne

We’re experts in skin cancer detection, mole surveillance and treatment

Skin cancer is a major cause of illness in Australia, with 2 out of 3 Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. We’re here to support you in the prevention and treatment of skin cancer.

Learn more Make a booking

Skin cancer clinics in Melbourne

There are many skin cancer services available in Melbourne, but we recommend always seeing a dermatologist for any concern you have with your skin.

Dermatologists have studied for over 10 years to become skin specialists, so there is no doctor better placed to manage your skin cancer checks, detection and treatment.

Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most skin cancers can be prevented by sun protection including sunscreens from an early age. Taking nicotinamide (vitamin B3) can also reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Types of skin cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the commonest type of skin cancer in Australia, frequently diagnosed and treated by dermatologists in Australia. Risk factors include fair skin and sun exposure history. Common sites for BCCs are the face (in the eye-mask distribution) and also on the trunk and limbs.

BCCs can vary in appearance and may be seen as a slight pinkish, pigmented or skin-coloured flat area or a lump. They may even be brown in colour; mimicking melanoma. They may ulcerate and bleed and are generally slow growing tumours. To the untrained eye, they can be easily missed as these tumours are usually painless. Some can be confused with sunspots or inflammatory conditions like a bite or acne.

Prompt diagnosis is essential to allow for minimally invasive management. Although excision remains the gold standard, certain forms of BCC (such as the superficial subtype) may be treated with non-surgical methods (such as cream, cryotherapy or gentle scraping/curettage). Sometimes radiotherapy is appropriate; avoiding the need for surgery.

Our dermatologists at Hope Dermatology are experts in diagnosing skin cancers such as BCCs and will be able to advise you on the best management option(s) tailored to your personal circumstances. We work closely with a team of specialists including plastic surgeons, radiation oncologists and pathologists to give you the best outcome possible.

It is important to have your skin regularly checked once you have been diagnosed with one basal cell carcinoma as likely more will appear with time.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the 2nd commonest type of skin cancer, again related to sun exposure. These can grow quickly and feel like a hard and often painful lump. Commonly affected areas include the hands, forearms, face, scalp, lips and ears.

With SCCs there is a small risk of spread (metastasis); although this risk is higher in those with a weak immune system or those who take immunosuppressants (e.g. organ transplant recipients).

Treatment options include creams or cryotherapy (freezing) for in-situ (localised) forms of SCC. For other forms of SCC treatment options include surgery, curettage or radiotherapy.

Melanoma

Melanoma

Although rare in general, Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world. The full name is malignant melanoma: a potentially fatal form of skin cancer caused by cancerous melanocytic cells, which can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Usually, melanomas are pigmented. Lesions that we worry about include the “ugly-duckling” mole, or moles/lesions that are changing using the ABCDE rule – asymmetry, irregular border, irregular colour, large diameter, and elevation (becoming more raised from the surface). However not all melanomas are pigmented and some may be a red patch or a blue lump.

Because melanoma has the ability to spread, it is critical that melanomas are diagnosed and treated early.

All our dermatologists have been trained in specialised tertiary hospitals managing melanomas. Treatment for melanoma may need to be also co-ordinated with other specialists including general surgeons, plastic surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists etc. For advanced melanoma, there are new treatments available offering hope to previously unsalvageable cases.

Once diagnosed with a melanoma, patients will require regular skin surveillance. This is to ensure the melanoma has not recurred or spread, but also to look for any new primary melanomas. Once you have been diagnosed with one melanoma, there is a 10-20% lifetime risk of another primary melanoma appearing elsewhere on the body.

Risk factors for melanoma include family history of melanoma, fair skin/light eyes, large total number of moles, multiple dysplastic/atypical moles, solarium use, blistering sunburns.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis

This is a pre-cancerous growth that may occur because of repeated sun damage over a lifetime. These can occur on any part of the body and usually are small, scaly, red patches. Treatments for these include liquid nitrogen (freezing treatment), curettage (scraping) and, cream treatments such as Efudix (5-fluorouracil), Aldara (imiquimod) and Picato (ingenol mebutate) gel.

They are considered pre-cancerous spots and have a small chance of progressing on to skin cancer. Treatment options we would consider include creams, photodynamic therapy, freezing / cryotherapy and curettage.

Bowen’s Disease

Bowen’s Disease

This is an early form of skin cancer that appears as a persistent, slow-growing, red and scaly skin patch. It is considered to be a more pronounced, thicker actinic keratosis. Treatment for Bowen’s disease (also known as SCC in-situ) include topical creams and surgery. A small proportion of Bowen’s disease lesions will progress to SCC and hence it is important to treat these as early as possible.

Other Skin Tumours

Other Skin Tumours

Benign skin lesions which can appear more with age include seborrhoeic keratoses (age spots), angiomas (Campbell de Morgan spots) and dermatofibroma. These do not require treatment until cosmetically unacceptable.

There are other rare malignant skin tumours which often can be mistaken for a benign lump. Dermatologists are well trained at differentiation between benign and malignant tumours and prompt management.