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Take off your clothes, look at your skin

John Mckenna talks to Dr Edward Upjohn MB.BS MMed FACD FACMS, a dermatologist in Melbourne, Australia, about different types of skin cancers and treatments.

Dr Edward Upjohn

Dr Edward Upjohn talks about the three different types of skin cancers and how to potentially identify them:

  • Melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC)
  • Basel cell carcinoma (BCC)

Your General Practitioner (GP) is the best starting point if you notice something different on your skin. They use a device called a dermatoscope to examine skin spots and are trained in biopsy which means removing a sample of your skin to test, and if required your GP may refer you to a dermatologist.

A skin cancer known as a melanoma can look like a mole and can be serious. Talk to your GP if you notice a new spot on your skin or an existing spot that has changed in shape, colour or is feeling uncomfortable.

Non–melanoma cancers can cause soreness and can look like a pimple.

Dr Edward Upjohn spoke about advancements in treatments over the past 20 years, such as creams and new drugs.

Dr Edward Upjohn specialises in MOHs surgery, which is a type of surgery that can give immediate confirmation that all the skin cancer has been removed.

Normally it is a day procedure involving a local anaesthetic.

During this procedure a tissue sample is removed and then immediately checked in a laboratory so that the surgeon knows where the skin cancer is located and further tissue can then be removed if required, instead of waiting for test results which can take a number of days.

Dr Edward Upjohn quoted a well-knownphrase – “early diagnosis can save lives” which he says is especially true for skin cancers. While it may be embarrassing to get undressed in front of your doctor, the skin cancer doesn’t stop, so continuous skin checks with your GP is a must.

www.edwardupjohn.com

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*Transcript of this interview is now available*

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