top of page

Skin check frequency

Updated: Jan 19

How often do we need to have a skin check?


In Australia, the prevalence of skin cancer is increasing. Early identification and prompt management are necessary. This post discusses the numerous strategies available to help with early skin cancer identification and provides a framework for skin inspections in primary care.


Campaigns to raise awareness of skin cancer encourage patients to visit their GPs for a thorough skin examination. Having proper skin check in proper intervals can help in the diagnosis and management of skin cancers.

Thick melanomas frequently do not follow the "ABCD" formula but are instead Elevated, Firm, and Growing. Melanomas are typically recognized as benign lesions by their history of change. Because of this, it's crucial to carefully take a patient's medical history, and any lesion that persists or changes in size, shape, color, or elevation for longer than a month should be evaluated and biopsied. (Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma)







Risk factors to be considered


Stratifying risk of skin cancer


High risk


Genetic/non-modifiable

  • Fitzpatrick skin type I–II

  • Red hair

  • Personal history of skin cancer (either melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer)

  • Genetic syndromes

  • strong family history of melanoma (3 or more cases related in the first- or second-degree)

Environmental

  • Immunosuppression (renal transplant)

Examination findings

  • >100 moles (>10 atypical moles)

  • >20 Sun-spots

3–4-monthly self-checks with 6 monthly skin checks with a doctor


Increased risk


Genetic/non-modifiable

  • Fitzpatrick skin type I–II22

  • Fair complexion with a tendency to burn

  • Family history of non-melanoma skin cancer

  • Male

  • Increasing age

Environmental

  • Outdoor work with high levels of ultraviolet exposure

  • Solarium use

  • Multiple episodes of sunburn with blistering

Examination findings

  • <20 solar keratoses

  • Presence of freckles


Encourage 3–6-monthly self-checks with Skin check 6-12 month



Average-to-low risk


Genetic/non-modifiable

  • Fitzpatrick skin type III–VI22

  • Olive-darker complexion with a tendency to tan rather than burn

  • Aged <40 years

Skin check every 12 month




Fitzpatrick Skin types




Family history of Melanoma


Unlike popular belief having a family history of melanoma ( up to 2 cases in the first- or second-degree) does not put you at a higher risk group. If your total risk factors are lower having a full body skin check every 12 months should be fine.



I have a suspicious mole, what to do next


Timing, timing, timing. If you leave a suspicious mole and it is actually skin cancer, depending on the type it can spread to other organs and puts your life at risk.


Over time most skin cancers get larger which makes surgical procedures and treatments more complex. Instead of simple excision you may need a skin graft, flap, or need to see a cosmetic surgeon. Please see your skin cancer doctor as soon as you get suspicious moles. To check moles please click here.


To have your skin checked please call (03) 9482 3881 or book here.

2,010 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


  • Facebook
bottom of page