Conditions & Treatments
Skin Cancer Types
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. This spreads locally and does not metastasise. Patients are diagnosed through a skin examination, followed by a biopsy. Treatment is typically by surgical removal. Click here for more information.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the most common forms of skin cancer. It is more likely than BCC to spread to distant areas of the body. Following skin examination, a biopsy can confirm the presence or absence of SCC. Treatment depends on the location and spread of the disease. Click here for more information.
Melanoma is also known as malignant melanoma and is the most dangerous of the skin cancers. It is a more aggressive skin cancer and can potentially spread to draining lymph glands. If caught early, most people can be cured. For those with melanoma that has spread, treatments can include immunotherapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Click here for more information.
Skin Cancer Risk Assessment
Two out of every three Australians will have a skin cancer at some point in their life. It is important that patients be effectively assessed for skin cancer risk and be regularly checked for new skin cancers.
In high-risk patients – with a history of previous skin cancer, immune suppression, or a strong family history of melanoma – regular assessment needs to be undertaken up to four times a year.
Integrated Skin Cancer Clinic offers a skin cancer risk assessment and subsequent screening based on your skin examination and background history. Part of this is also educating you about what to look for so that you become aware of your own skin and can return at any time should you be concerned about a new or changing skin lesion.
Benign Skin Lumps and Tumours
Abnormal growths or bumps on the skin are relatively common and are generally benign. Any lump that is growing and causing visible deformity should be assessed.
Benign tumours of the skin can include:
- Lipoma (fat deposition)
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Sebaceous cysts (blocked sweat glands)
- Warts (viral infection of the skin)
- Corn or callus (thickening of the skin due to continuous pressure)
Skin lumps and cysts can be diagnosed with a physical examination. Your doctor may also recommend a biopsy of the cyst to confirm the diagnosis and identify the underlying cause. Some benign tumours do not need to be removed. Any tumour associated with growth and/or visible deformity can be removed surgically or with curettage.
Epidemoid and Sebaceous Cysts
Sebaceous cysts are small sac-like bumps filled with a yellow, thick skin protein called keratin. They usually form beneath the skin – mostly on the face, neck and torso – and occur when the skin’s surface cells do not slough off, but instead enter into the deeper skin layers.These cysts occur due to damaged and/or blocked sebaceous glands or hair follicles. Larger cysts can become infected. Once infected, they can be difficult to adequately treat.
Symptoms of the cysts include:
- Pain and pressure, particularly in larger ones; small cysts may be painless
- Small tender red coloured lumps
- Tiny blackhead plugging the cyst’s opening
- Inflammation of the affected skin
- Oozing of foul-smelling fluid from the cyst if they become infected.
Sebaceous cysts can be diagnosed by clinical examination.
Larger cysts should be removed. Sebaceous cysts are commonly excised under local anaesthetic and will leave a small scar. The cyst is sent for pathological examination to confirm the diagnosis.
Skin Cancer Treatment
Some of the common procedures to treat skin tumours include:
- Surgical excision with primary, flap or skin graft closure
- Curettage and electrodessication.