Diagnosis & treatment

Over 95% of skin cancers can be successfully treated if found early.

All Australians should become familiar with their skin. Check all of your skin, not just sun-exposed areas. If you notice anything unusual, including any change in shape, colour or size of a spot, or the development of a new spot, visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Who you may see

Medical staff who care for people with skin cancers include:

  • dermatologists, who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders
  • surgeons, who specialise in surgery
  • radiation oncologists, who specialise in radiotherapy.

You may see other health professionals depending on your treatment.

How skin cancer is diagnosed

Skin cancer is diagnosed by physical examination and biopsy.

Biopsy is a quick and simple procedure where part or all of the spot is removed and sent to a laboratory. It may be done by your family doctor or you can be referred to a dermatologist or surgeon. Results may take about a week to be ready.

How skin cancer is treated

In choosing the best treatment option, your doctor will consider your age and general health, the type and size of cancer, where it is on your body and what you want. The treatment choice will also depend on whether the skin cancer has spread elsewhere in your body.

Types of treatment include:

  • surgery
  • freezing
  • scraping
  • radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy.
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