These services are available at our Skin Cancer PLUS clinic, 66 Roslyn Rd, Belmont.
A biopsy is an excision of a small sample of a lesion to determine diagnosis.
This can be done by using local anesthesia and removing a small piece of the area with a razor blade, a scalpel, or a small, circular blade called a “punch.” The specimen will be sent for pathology for a definitive diagnosis.
A biopsy will often be performed prior to surgical removal of a lesion in order to determine the diagnosis. This is routinely performed by the GPs at our Skin Cancer PLUS Clinic.
The results from pathology usually takes a few days to a week to get back. Once the results arrive one of the staff may call you to discuss them or you may be asked to come in for a follow-up appointment to discuss further treatment.
FLUOROUACIL TOPICAL OINTMENT
Very superficial (thin) BCCs, SCCs, solar keratosis, actinic keratosis and sun spots can be treated non-surgically. Fluoroucacil Ointment (5-FU) is a type of chemotherapy cream (Efudix) which can be applied by the patient at home to manage these smaller lesions. The benefit of fluorouacil is that patients have the ability to target and treat either individual lesions or larger areas as directed by the doctor
Freezing lesions with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or burning the lesions off with a chemical peel such as 35% TCA can also be effective for benign superficial lesions. This is performed by our doctors and is a good method for treating superficial lesions.
Curettage is the term used to describe surgical scraping, which may be used to clean a body cavity of foreign matter, to remove diseased tissue such as tumors or growths or to obtain a biopsy that can be used for diagnosis. It involves the use of a small, circular blade with a very sharp edge called a curette. Curette excision is the simplest method of surgical removal. The benefit of a curette is that no sutures are required
Not all excisions require a hospital admission. Straightforward skin cancer removal can be performed as a minor procedure in our operating rooms. Larger or more challenging removal may be done under general anesthetic in hospital by one of our plastic surgeons.
A formal excision when the cancer is cut out and the wound closed with sutures may require a flap or graft for closure. Very large cancers often require reconstructive surgery using techniques such as free tissue transfer.
Adequate margins (area of healthy cells around the cancer) are required to ensure complete excision of the cancer. The margins required depend on the type of cancer being excised.
Some cancers require radiation or chemotherapy as well as surgery. Our doctors will refer patients needing these additional treatments on to appropriate specialists. It is common to also undergo further testing such as PET/CT scans to ensure the cancer has not spread to other areas of the body.
Skin Cancer PLUS has full access to the Geelong Regional Multidisciplinary Meetings and is able to refer to appropriate local specialists in either the Public or Private system.
Laser is not a suitable treatment option to treat any malignant or suspicious skin lesion. We require our skin doctors to perform a detailed examination prior to performing any pigmentation laser treatments to ensure there are no suspect lesions in the treatment area.
Laser may be an appropriate treatment for patients who have rosacea, telangiectasia, skin tags, solar keratosis, solar lentigo, melasma, scarring and benign solar damage.
A laser referral can be made through our Skin Cancer PLUS Clinic.