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Skin Cancer Explained

GP, dermatologist, or skin cancer clinic: Where to get your skin checked?

Worried about a possible skin cancer? Find out where to go to get a thorough skin check.
MoleMap Team
March 4, 2022
6 minutes

You’re per­form­ing an at-home skin check and spot a sus­pi­cious mole or unusual mark on your skin. Maybe that old mole on your arm has changed shape and you're uncertain about your next step?

No doubt you’re wondering where to get a skin check. You might be asking yourself ‘should I visit my GP?’ ‘Should I see a spe­cial­ist skin doctor?’ Or ‘should I go to a skin cancer detec­tion clinic?’

You’re not alone. Most of us don’t think about these things until we notice something different about our skin. You want to make the right choice to give your­self the best chance at detec­tion, treatment and prevention.

In Aus­tralia, the first point of con­tact is often a general practitioner (GP). If need­ed, a GP may refer you to a dermatologist. There are also GP-led skin cancer clinics, and clinics that specialise in skin cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment — like MoleMap. To help you make an informed choice, here’s a look at the different options available

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See your general practitioner (GP)

Most people who notice a sus­pi­cious spot on their skin will visit their GP. As some­one who knows your health history, your GP can discuss your skin cancer risk and your options for ongoing skin checks.

Image of GP looking at a lady’s back moles using a magnifying glass.
Some small skin cancers may be diagnosed and managed by your GP who are famil­iar with deal­ing with these skin health con­cerns. If a second opinion is needed or you have a skin cancer that requires further treatment, your GP may refer you to a specialist.

Skin cancer and melanoma are com­mon in Aus­tralia, so GPs are famil­iar with deal­ing with these skin health con­cerns. They can check your skin and teach you how to do a self-exam at home. (Read our skin check guide to find out how.)

Some small skin cancers may be diagnosed and managed by your GP. In Australia, GPs are considered gatekeepers to specialist services. If a second opinion is needed or you have a skin cancer that requires further treatment, your GP may refer you to a specialist. This includes a dermatologist or a dedicated skin cancer clinic, such as MoleMap.  

Visit a dermatologist

Your GP can refer you to a dermatologist for a skin cancer check. You can book a dermatologist appointment without a GP referral, but this won’t generally be covered by Medicare. 

With approximately 650 registered dermatologists in Australia, you may face a waiting period. According to the Dermatology Institute of Victoria, as a general guide, dermatologist appointments may have a waiting time of up to four weeks.

Dermatologists specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin, nail, and hair disease. They can provide skin cancer screenings and skin cancer treatment.

As regular skin checks are the cornerstone of skin cancer prevention, your dermatologist may recommend you visit a skin cancer detec­tion clin­ic like MoleMap for ongoing mole checks.

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Go to a skin cancer clinic

Skin cancer clin­ics are usu­al­ly run by GPs with a spe­cial inter­est in skin cancer. Some GPs may do additional training, but no formal qualifications are needed to work in a skin cancer clinic.

These types of clinics are likened to one-stop shops, as they offer several services in one place. At a skin cancer clinic, you can get an initial consultation and skin screening as well as a biopsy and mole removal. They are con­ve­nient for patients and easy to get an appoint­ment. 

Visit a skin cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment clinic

All MoleMap skin cancer clin­ics are run by melanographers. These are registered nurses with spe­cialised train­ing in the early detec­tion of melanoma and oth­er skin can­cer.

Image of a melanographer capturing images of the internal structure of a patient’s mole during a skin check at a MoleMap clinic.
All MoleMap skin cancer clin­ics are run by melanographers, registered nurses with spe­cialised train­ing in the early detec­tion of melanoma and oth­er skin can­cers. They will examine  your moles thoroughly using a dermatoscope, take images of their inter­nal struc­ture and send digital images of any suspicious moles to a dermatologist for expert diag­no­sis and reporting.

During your skin check, your moles will be thoroughly examined using a dermatoscope. Your melanographer will take images of the inter­nal struc­ture of your moles. Once the head-to-toe skin check is com­plete, digital images of any suspicious moles are sent to a dermatologist (via telemedicine) for expert diag­no­sis and reporting.

But what tru­ly sets MoleMap apart is the advanced technology we’ve pio­neered to detect and diag­nose early-stage melanoma. In fact, since 1997, we have been the glob­al lead­ers in scan­ning and diag­nos­ing melanoma and other types of skin cancer.

This state-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy features three main factors to deliver early and more accurate results:

  • Thor­ough skin check. A hand­held dermatoscope is used to per­form a comprehensive head-to-toe skin check. The dermatoscope allows our melanographers to see the intri­cate struc­tures of your moles and note any sus­pi­cious features.
  • Dermoscopic (subsurface) and clinical imaging. A spe­cial­ly designed MoleMap cam­era sees into the inter­nal struc­ture of your moles past what the naked eye is capa­ble of. We also take clinical images to see and map where each spot is locat­ed on your body.
  • Total body pho­tog­ra­phy. This captures and cre­ates a com­plete record of your skin’s sur­face and the position of each indi­vid­ual mole. It pro­vides a solid baseline for identifying and tracking any future changes in your moles over time.

The benefit of this state-of-the-art technology is more accu­rate and early diagnosis. It may also and may save you the cost and worry of hav­ing unnec­es­sary moles removed.

How do I choose where to get checked for skin cancer?

As you can see, there are various skin check services available to you. To help you choose the one that best suits your needs, consider the following:

  • Ease of access. (Click here to find a MoleMap clinic near you)
  • Training, qualifications, and experience of staff
  • Cost
  • Can both diagnosis and treatment be provided?
  • Skin cancer prevention and ongoing surveillance

Ease of access

You can usually book online for a skin check at a GP-led clinic or a MoleMap skin cancer clinic. In most cases, a GP referral is needed to see a dermatologist. Even where you can book an appointment yourself, a GP referral is required to be eligible for potential Medicare rebates. Wait time to see a specialist can range from months to years.

Training, qualifications, and experience of staff

Consider what expertise and experience the person who will perform your skin check has. All MoleMap melanographers have a health sector background – such as such as registered nurses and allied health professionals. This means they not only have a good under­stand­ing of the sci­en­tif­ic aspects of the job, but they’re also skilled at putting patients at ease.

A melanographer discusses the skin check process with a patient at a MoleMap clinic.
Our melanographers have intensive training and complete the Pathway to Melanography Certificate, and several external training development courses. All MoleMap skin checks also include a dermatologist diagnosis so you can rest assured your skin has been checked, and double checked for more accurate results.

Our melanographers have intensive training and complete the Pathway to Melanography Certificate, and several external training development courses. They work under supervision until they finish their training programs and undergo ongoing audit and assessment programs until they are at a level to progress to the Advanced Practice Certificate.

MoleMap skin checks include a dermatologist diagnosis (no referral needed). You can rest assured your skin has been checked, and double checked for more accurate results.

Cost

Some skin checks may be bulk billed, other providers require upfront payment. Find out the cost of the skin check service upfront and don’t forget to enquire about payment options. (At MoleMap you can break the cost down into four interest-free payments).

Some health funds may cover part or all the cost of a skin check at a skin cancer clinic. This may include a mole check. Contact your healthcare provider to find out if skin checks are covered by your policy. 

It’s also worthwhile asking about the cost for a biopsy/mole removal, storing photographic images and for follow-up appointments.

Can both diagnosis and treatment be provided?

Discovering you have a suspect or malignant mole can be frightening. The good news is that, when found early, most skin cancers can be successfully treated. Booking with a clinic that also provides skin cancer treatment can mean a quicker journey to a positive outcome. 

Skin cancer prevention and ongoing surveillance

Your skin cancer check should include advice on how to protect your skin from cancer. At MoleMap, our melanographers offer advice and education on skin cancer prevention and sun safety. We’ll discuss your individual risk for developing skin cancer and help you to get the most from your DIY skin checks.

A young man checks his skin and moles at home.
At MoleMap, our melanographers offer advice and education on skin cancer prevention and sun safety. We’ll discuss your individual risk for developing skin cancer and help you to get the most from your DIY skin checks.

f you’re at high risk of skin cancer, we recommend having a Full Body MoleMap. This is our most comprehensive mole check service. Alongside a head-to-toe skin exam, it includes baseline images of your moles, ongoing surveillance, and free spot checks for 12 months. If anything on your skin changes, you can spot it early—when it matters most.  

Need a skin check? Want the peace of mind that your skin is healthy? Compare our services and find your nearest MoleMap location

MoleMap Team

At MoleMap we check, detect and treat skin cancer. Find out how you can protect your skin at your nearest MoleMap skin cancer clinic.

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