The process when visiting Encorė Skin Cancer Clinic
Patients are either referred by their own doctor or can refer themselves. Patients can simply phone our Clinic and book an appointment.
Initial contact with our Clinic – Getting an Appointment
When you initially talk to our Clinic staff it will be clarified whether you wish to have your entire skin checked (a full skin check appointment) or you wish only to have 1-3 lesions checked (a lesion check appointment).
Other details such as name and current details will also be collected.
An appointment time will be allocated and costs for that appointment discussed. A Patient Health Information Questionnaire form will be then sent to you for completion prior to your appointment.
Your doctor or one of our Registered Nurses will call you through for your appointment. A brief history including what you want checked and your family and personal skin cancer history will be taken. You will be given time alone to do this. Unless there are specific lesions of concern in the genital or breast area, underwear can be left on and these areas will not be examined.
You will be provided with some information on Skin Cancers and how to examine your own skin. We encourage all our patients to self monitor their skin between Clinic appointments and you will receive instructions on how to do this.
Self Monitoring Your Skin
The Six Signs of Melanoma
A sudden or continuous change in any of your moles is a sign that you should visit The Skin Cancer Clinic or see your doctor. The ABCDEF rule can help you remember the symptoms of melanoma.
Mole-Asym 1. ASYMMETRY
Most early melanomas are asymmetrical in shape: a line through the middle would not create matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical.
Mole-Border 2. BORDER
The borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or rough edges. Common moles have smoother, more even borders.
Mole-Colour 3. COLOUR
Common moles usually are a single shade of brown. Varied shades or brown, tan or black are often a first sign of melanoma. As melanomas progress, the colours red, white and blue may appear.
mole-diameter 4. DIAMETER
Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles – generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm or 1/4” in diameter).
Any more that changes over time should be assessed.
If a mole is frequently itching, bleeding, scabbing or tingling, it should be examined.
This is always done by Dr. Bellaney or Dr Fergusson. Part of the examination will likely involve the use of special magnifying equipment. If a skin cancer is present it will usually be able to be diagnosed immediately. However, if there is any doubt a biopsy will sometimes be required (see below) for which there will be an extra charge.
Once the examination (and if required biopsy) is complete we will discuss the findings with you. In many cases this will involve reassurance that there are currently no skin cancers. In this case recommendation regarding the need for any follow up skin examinations will be made.
If there is a skin cancer present, treatment options will be discussed and an appointment for treatment made.
Other possible things that may occur:
Sometimes, in order to help with diagnosis a skin biopsy will be performed. This is actually a very straightforward procedure. At our Clinic we use incredibly fine ‘needles’ which are as small as a pin. Using this small ‘pin’ a tiny amount of local anaesthetic is put just under the skin in order to numb up the area to be biopsied. Once the skin is numb (yes, we do test it first!) the biopsy will be done. You should not feel any discomfort when the biopsy is being done. After the biopsy is performed a stitch may be placed at the site or otherwise (most commonly) a simple dressing put over the area. These usually heal very well and there is generally no need to return to the Clinic for dressings.
If you have had a stitch at your biopsy site you will be asked to return to our Clinic for removal of this stitch (there is no charge for this). Your results, if available, will be discussed with you at that stage. In all other situations you will be phoned with your results.