Melanoma March is a family friendly event to raise awareness and funds for melanoma research and treatment.

The Illawarra Melanoma March is at Stuart Park from 7.30am on Sunday 10 March.

About Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in the skin’s pigment cells (melanocytes). It is the most serious form of skin cancer and can grow very quickly and spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

‘Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world. On average, 30 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma every day,’ said Dr Michael Hanson. ‘The good news is that melanoma is often identifiable at an early stage where simple treatment can result in a complete cure.’

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors that increase the chances of melanoma, including:

  • fair skin
  • high mole count
  • family history
  • pattern of sunburns throughout life, especially during childhood.

Diagnosis

If you notice a strange new mole on your skin or an old mole that’s started changing,  see your GP right away. Some people at higher risk require regular, planned skin assessments.

Your GP will conduct a skin check using a magnifying instrument called a dermascope. If they find anything concerning, they may recommend you have a biopsy or refer you to a dermatologist.

An excision biopsy is a quick and simple procedure that can be performed by your GP. You will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Your doctor uses a scalpel to remove the mole and some surrounding tissue. He or she then closes the wound with stitches and sends the sample to pathology for analysis.

Treatment

If pathology results indicate melanoma, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on how far the melanoma has progressed together with other factors such as your age and general health.

The most common treatment for localised (early stage) melanoma is surgery. In most cases, this is the only treatment required.

More advanced cases of melanoma where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body may require treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted molecular therapy.

Skin Check Clinic

Bulli Medical Practice runs a Skin Check Clinic with Dr Michael Hanson every Tuesday from 2pm to 6pm by appointment only.

Dr Hanson has extensive experience in the field of skin cancer screening and management, having worked alongside clinicians from The Melanoma Institute and dermatologists from the University of Queensland.

In addition, skin check consultations are available with all general practitioners at Bulli Medical Practice.

Contact reception on 4284 4622 to make an appointment for your skin check, or book online.