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70 Mooney Street, Gulliver

Queensland Australia 4812

Melanoma

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Our Staff

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Our Staff

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Our Staff

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Our Staff

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Melanoma

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Raised skin coloured melanoma

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Raised skin coloured melanoma

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Raised scaly black mealnoma

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Raised scaly black melanoma

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Raise irregular pale melanoma

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Raise irregular pale melanoma

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Flat tan coloured melanoma

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Flat tan coloured melanoma

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Raised pink melanoma

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Raised pink melanoma

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Raised blue melanoma

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Raised blue melanoma

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Melanoma

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Melanoma

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Dark flat melanoma

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Dark flat melanoma

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Flat pink melanoma

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Flat pink melanoma

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Every year over 1500 Australians die from melanoma of the skin.  This is a tragedy as these deadly tumours are completely curable when caught early enough. Though rare, it is also possible for melanomas to develop at the back of the eye as well as in the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract and genital areas. Being hidden from direct view these rarer tumours are not as easily diagnosed at an early curable stage.

Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in Australia with 1 in 14 men and 1 in 23 women developing melanoma in their lifetime.  Outcome following a diagnosis of melanoma is strongly associated with the thickness of the tumour and hence early detection of thin melanomas is crucial to ensure long term survival.

Melanomas can arise within pre-existing moles but more commonly develop de novo in normal looking skin.  They are often brown or black but can be tan, pink, grey, red, blue or even skin coloured. They can be perfectly flat or raised with a smooth, crusted or ulcerated surface. Though melanomas are sometimes itchy, more frequently they are not itchy or painful especially early on when they are still curable.

The hallmark of melanoma is change in colour, size or symmetry over weeks or months. This can easily be missed especially if the tumour is growing on a part of your body that you don’t look at closely or you have a large numbers of moles. Many melanomas can only be diagnosed early with the use of a dermatoscope so skin checks with a doctor trained in dermoscopy is very important.

Adequate surgical excision can be lifesaving if you develop a melanoma.  Often the diagnosis of melanoma is missed with punch biopsy sampling. If your skin cancer doctor thinks melanoma is at all possible they will do a small excision or shave of the entire suspect spot with a narrow margin of normal skin.  Once a diagnosis of melanoma is confirmed, a second excision is undertaken with a margin of normal skin. The width and depth of this margin of normal skin will depend on the thickness of the original melanoma. For thicker melanomas your doctor may also need to discuss lymph node sampling with you.

Having had a melanoma you are at greater risk of developing other melanomas and we cannot overstress the importance of ongoing regular skin checks for early detection. Additionally it is important that you do your own skin checks on a monthly basis specifically looking for new or changing spots remembering of course that a future melanoma you develop could look completely different to the first one.  A set of close up views of your body (total body photography) will assist you and your skin cancer doctor greatly in detecting a new or changing spot that could be an early melanoma.

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Call us for a consultation on (07) 4779 0099

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