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8 January, 2021

A regular skin check will save lives

FORGET the attention seeking headline, ‘Skin Cancer Capital of the world’. Doctor Edward Guirguis, from Skin Cancer Clinic Flecker House, would rather focus on a few critical points and educate his patients why they should be having a regular skin and mole check.

By Peter McCullagh

The figures are rather stark for us here in the North. Melanomas are the second most commonly detect cancer annually in men and third for women. If detected early and treated appropriately you can expect a better than average 5 years survival rate, better than almost all other cancers.

This does not diminish the severity of such a cancer. Because a melanoma is skin based and visible to the eye and able to be touched, detection happens earlier along with treatment resulting in a better than average survival rate.

“Skin cancer and melanoma can affect anyone.  If you see a change in a mole or a lesion that does not heal within a two week period, have it checked.

“Dark skin or having a tan will not protect you from being burnt or developing a melanoma. Bob Marley the reggae singer died from melanoma,’ said Dr Guirguis.

The figures can be frightening. The Cancer Council of Queensland reports an average of over 3600 people are diagnosed each year with a melanoma. If you have more than 50 moles on your skin you have 7 times the risk of developing a melanoma than someone with less than 50 moles.

In Far North Queensland the average age for diagnosis of a melanoma in men is 65 years with a 93% five-year relative survival rate, however for women the outlook is more positive.

Women are diagnosed earlier, average age 60, but they have a 99% five-year survival outlook.

The key is to be checked early, the earlier a potential melanoma is detected the better the survival rate.

Dr Edward Guirguis opened his practice in Cairns, Skin Cancer Clinic Flecker House, in late October 2020 after previously practicing and consulting in Port Douglas as well as Cairns.

The Clinic offers a comprehensive range of consultations and services including skin cancer checks as well as surgery and post-surgical care.

No GP referral is required, Dr Guirguis urges residents take the risk of skin cancer seriously. “If you have a mole or lesion that is causing a concern, you can book in for a spot check. You will be seen and the mole checked as a matter of priority.”

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