We’re lucky to call this beautiful part of earth home. But Australians have some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
At Cairns Plastic Surgery, we provide both surgical and non-surgical treatments of facial skin cancer.
Distinguishing between the two is dependent on the type of skin cancer as well as the size of the affected area.
Surgical skin cancer removal
Surgical skin cancer removal involves cutting out the skin cancer, along with a margin of surrounding healthy skin to help ensure all dangerous cells are removed.
Depending on the size of the excision, the site can either be sutured, or it may need a tissue flap or skin graft.
Simple excision usually leaves a thin scar that is barely visible.
For larger affected areas (or if the melanoma has spread), major surgery may be required.
Non-surgical skin cancer removal
Non-surgical skin cancer surgery is dependent on the type of skin cancer, but this treatment can be done with creams, chemotherapy, erbium laser, or radiotherapy.
Your general practitioner may refer you to a plastic surgeon for skin cancer treatment under the following circumstances:
- There is an incidence of larger skin cancer excisions that need skin flaps or grafts
- Skin cancer treatment will occur in an aesthetically sensitive area like the eyes, nose, ears or lips
- Specialised laser treatment is recommended
- The appearance of residual scars may be improved
- Scar revision after skin cancer removal
Skin cancer in Queensland and Australia
Skin cancer in Queensland
We may be known for the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, and the Gold Coast’s theme parks, but unfortunately, Queensland is also known as the skin cancer capital of the world.
- More than 3400 Queenslanders are diagnosed with melanoma every year (Source)
- 133,000 other skin cancers are diagnosed in the Sunshine state every year (Source)
- Older Queenslanders are more at risk: the median age for skin cancer diagnosis is 61 (Source)
- Queensland skin cancer rates are 60% higher than the rest of Australia.
Skin cancer in Australia
Until recently, Australia held the title of country with highest incidence of skin cancer. But now, we sit in second place, behind New Zealand.
Types of skin cancer
Skin cancer can generally be split into two types: melanoma and non-melanoma.
Non-melanoma skin cancer
Non-melanoma skin cancers (known as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) are the most common cancers in Australia.
They are generally slow-growing and localised, and as such, most are non life-threatening.
Melanoma skin cancer
Melanoma skin cancer is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
It can occur on any area of the body, and is highly likely to spread through the body to other internal organs, including lymph nodes, lungs, liver, and the brain.
Early detection is critical, so be sure to get to know your body: check your skin regularly (and get someone to help check areas like the scalp), and make sure you seek support if you notice a mole that is changing in colour, size, or texture.
Services for pensioners and Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) members
Dr Hertess and her team provide specialist skin cancer services and care for pensioners, and members of the DVA. To find out more information on how we can help you please do not hesitate to contact us today.