Sun protection can limit skin cancers to a certain degree but by far the most proven effective treatment is early detection and removal. If a melanoma is detected early at a superficial stage there is a greater than 95% chance of still being alive after 5 years. Wait until it is has started to spread and this can be a less than 50% chance.
Detection depends on looking properly, with adequate exposure of the skin, done by doctors trained in detection, and using good equipment. This we can offer at Doctors of Tewantin.
Then the next priority is to get rid of the cancer with adequate margins of safety, significantly reducing the chance of any recurrence. This can be done at Doctors of Tewantin.
Finally, but still importantly, we aim to ensure the function of the skin remains intact and a good cosmetic outcome is achieved. This can be done at Doctors of Tewantin.
A skin check generally takes 15 minutes and requires that you undress down to your underwear or a bikini if you feel more comfortable. Dr Ken Corbett will examine your skin using a hand help microscope that he has special training to use (dermatoscope). He will store any images on your medical file of spots he wants to monitor.
If Dr Corbett finds any suspicious lesions, you will be rebooked for a biopsy or a complete excision. See below for more information on what these procedures entail. Any questions regarding this process please never hesitate to discuss with Dr Corbett or Justine & Pauline at reception.
The early diagnosis of skin cancer can dramatically improve the outcome of treatment. The sooner skin cancer is found, the easier it is to remove before growth spreads to other areas of the body.
Early detection is vital as even small skin cancers have the potential to grow and cause significant problems to your health.
If Dr Corbett finds a suspicious spot there are various methods of treatment. Below are common treatments which he will explain in further detail if required:
Cryotherapy with Liquid Nitrogen
Cryotherapy or “freezing” with liquid nitrogen is an effective way to treat several skin conditions, including Actinic Keratoses which are commonly known as “pre-skin cancers”.
Modern technology is producing several new methods of dealing with skin cancer. Nonsurgical treatments can include topical chemotherapy or immunotherapy. These options are only appropriate for certain tumor subtypes, but can be an excellent treatment option when indicated.
Skin Cancer Surgery/Treatment
Skin cancers can be removed surgically in the office as Dr Corbett specialises in all techniques for removing skin cancer, including standard surgical excision, skin flaps, skin grafts, electro-dissication and curettage. When appropriate, non-surgical treatments of skin cancer will also be discussed with you, including radiation, cryotherapy, and topical creams .Surgical procedures are done under local anaesthetic with supplemental anaesthesia for larger procedures. Dr Corbett is trained in all the above procedures and is a fully Accredited Doctor with the Skin Cancer College of Australasia(SCCA). He holds both the Diploma in Dermatoscopy and Diploma in Skin Cancer Medicine & Surgery. He has completed the Advanced Surgical Skills Workshops ran by the college.
Some skin cancers are clinically obvious, but others may be more subtle. So when needed, the lesion may be shaved, partially sampled , or completely excised, and pathological analysis will be performed to provide further information.
Moles that are suspicious for melanoma can be removed surgically. This procedure is typically performed at the clinic, but due to space and time constraints, may be scheduled for a future date.
All skin biopsies and specimens that are performed and sent out will be evaluated by a qualified dermatopathologist – a pathologist who specializes in diagnosing disorders of the skin. Results are usually available within 48 hours.
After a skin cancer is removed, the resulting wound must be repaired. This may include reconstructive surgery when necessary, ranging from primary closure to skin flaps and grafts. Dr Corbett is suitably trained in a range of procedures.