Australia has one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world with up to 99% of skin cancers being caused by exposure to the sun.
Although your risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer increases with age, it is important to note that melanoma is one of the most common life threatening cancers in the 15 to 44 year age group and the third most common life threatening cancer in both men and women overall.
The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), can be cured if caught early and properly treated. When melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) is detected before it spreads, it also has a high cure rate.
So the sooner a skin cancer can be identified and treated, the more likely it is to be cured.
Why are skin checks so important?
Over time, your moles may change. Skin checks help you and your doctor get to know your moles to help identify any suspicious changes as quickly as possible – if you can spot it, you can stop it!
Who should get their skin checked?
Everyone! People of all backgrounds and skin types will benefit from a skin check. You might be recommended for routine checks if you have:
- fair skin, red hair or light eye colour
- many moles (more than 50)
- a personal history of skin cancer
- a family history of skin cancer
- taken immunosuppressive medication
- an immunosuppressive condition
- two or more moles with irregular shape and greater than 6mm
- extensive sun damage to your skin
- used sun or tanning beds.
How much does a skin check cost?
At Cooloola Coast General Practice, your skin check will be bulk billed if you have a current Medicare Card.
*A Surgery/Dressing Practice fee of $49.50 applies to surgical procedures (excluding biopsies) to cover the cost of our specialised sutures and dressings.
Preparing for your skin check
- clean your skin (no makeup or nailpolish)
- moisturise your skin the day before
- bring any previous skin documentation (pathology results, checkups)
- tie your hair back (if applicable)
- remove jewellery
What to expect
Once you arrive and have been checked in, your GP will examine your skin and ask basic questions about your medical history along with any factors that could increase your risk for developing skin cancer.
Depending on your GP, they may examine your spots with a dermatoscope – a magnifier that lets them see your mole’s unique features, or DermEngine’s Molescope – a mobile dermatoscope that captures a high-resolution, detailed view of the skin through magnification and specialised lighting – the images are accessible through a secure platform for analysis and diagnosis.
With this information, they will take the appropriate measures to refer or manage your case.
Your GP will take a moment to discuss the best course of action for your skin health. Depending on your case, this might look like:
- no further action needed at this time
- scheduling follow-up visits to image and monitor the mole
- a biopsy of the mole (a sample taken to examine it in further detail)
- an excision (the removal of the mole).
Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you may be asked to return every 3, 6 or 12 months for a skin exam in addition to performing frequent self checks at home.
Our Practice has a recall/reminder system in place so we can contact you via SMS, phone or mail for your follow-up appointment. We do recommend that you also keep your own record of when the follow-up skin check is due and ensure that your contact details are always kept up-to-date for our Practice records.
Further information on Skin Cancer can be found at:
To book an appointment, please phone our friendly Admin team during business hours.
Queensland’s rate of skin cancer is about 60 percent higher than the rest of Australia