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Love the skin you’re in

17/06/2022

 

Men of all ages are encouraged to book vital health checks during Men’s Health Week, June 14 – 22).

Many skin checks were unfortunately delayed or overlooked during the pandemic, and now it is time to catch up.
Cabrini plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Mr Nick Houseman, says the process of having essential skin checks starts at home, in consultation with your GP or dermatologist.

Who needs a skin check?

Anyone living in our harsh climate should have an annual skin check, Mr Houseman says.

“You’ve got high profile sportsmen, such as Jimmy Stynes, who have died of melanoma. It makes you realise there are people who spend a lot of time outside and don’t follow the normal precautions to look after their skin, particularly younger men – they might be tradies, playing sport or spending time outdoors in their vocation. Essentially, we should all get screened for skin cancer in our 20s and 30s; sooner for those at higher-risk.”

Who is high risk?

“People are considered high risk if there’s a strong family history of skin malignancies,” Nick says.

“People with over 100 moles, and also Celtic skin types with pale skin, blue eyes, red hair — they’re the types to develop skin cancers early in life. We do see people in their 20s with melanomas. People who have a high risk background should consider seeing their GP or a dermatologist to get their skin checked in their 20s or earlier.”

How to get a skin check

“Generally you should go to a GP, or high-risk patients might be assessed annually by a dermatologist. Take your doctor’s advice on how often to check.

High risk groups could combine self-examinations every three months and have a yearly check with a dermatologist.

Medium risk groups could do a self-examination every three to six months, and be checked every two to five years by a doctor.”

What to look for in a self-examination

You can also do regular self-skin checks at home. Look for lesions that are new, or existing lesions that have changed in size, colour or are bleeding. Any sort of change needs to be assessed by a medical professional.

Nick says the first step is getting your skin checked, and if a melanoma or skin cancer is diagnosed, you may be referred to a specialist.

“It’s comforting to know that if you are referred to Cabrini to be managed by a specialist you are not just being looked after by one doctor, your case is managed by a team of doctors,” he says.

“Every case of a high-risk lesion is discussed by a team including plastic surgeons, oncologists, radiation therapists and pathologists. I think it’s really important to note that at Cabrini you are getting the highest level of care, not just from your doctor, but from every doctor. That multidisciplinary approach sets us apart from most private hospitals.

Mr Nick Houseman is a highly experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

He specialises in microsurgery, breast reconstruction, aesthetic breast surgery including breast reduction and augmentation, abdominoplasty, skin cancer and hand surgery.

For more information on Cabrini Cancer services visit www.cabrini.com.au/cancer