Phone 09 585 0188, Eastmed Doctors, 188 St Heliers Bay Road, St Heliers, Auckland

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It can occur in a new mole on your skin, or from a previous mole. If picked up early the cure rate is 100%.

What causes melanomas?

Exposure to excessive sunlight (UV radiation) damages the skin (sun burn). If this happens it causes changes to the structure of the pigment producing cells of the skin. If you have had significant sun burns in the past this increases your risk of  a melanoma.

How do I know if my mole or freckle is a melanoma?

Most moles are normal. If you have a mole that is new or changing in any form or colour or shape, gets crusty or bleeds or itches it needs checked.

What does melanoma look like?

If your mole is new and changes it needs checked. Melanomas can occur in a preexisting mole. It may stand out, become darker, itches, or gets crusty, or grows . Please click here to see a  melanoma image. 

Am I at risk of developing a melanoma?

Intense, intermittent sun exposure is the most high risk factor for melanoma.
If you have
  • fair skin that burns
  • have many moles
  • have had sun burns in the past

you should have a regular skin check with a doctor trained in early skin cancer diagnosis. Are you at risk?

How do I diagnose melanoma early?

I use a skin surface microscope called Dermoscope to diagnose early melanomas. I have used this for over 13 years now.  Light, magnification and cross polarisation increases penetration of light. This make it easier to read a mole. Read more…

How is your Melanoma mole check different to the one done at molemap or molecheck or with my GP or the dermatologist?

Molemap and Molecheck companies use a dermoscope. A dermatologist reads at a later time the pictures taken by a nurse in molemap. You dont see the dermatologist or a skin cancer doctor at molemap. Molecheck are GPs trained like me. Your GP may or may not have had training to use a dermoscope. A dermatologist uses a dermoscope as well to diagnose early melanomas.

What qualifications or further education do you have to do a mole check?

  • I have used a dermoscope more or less every day since 2005.
  • Advanced Certificate in Dermoscopy and Dermal Imaging, University of Queensland, 2007.
  • Certificate in Dermoscopy, Skin Cancer College of Australia, 2015.
  • Active member in International Dermoscopy Society.
  • Auckland Hospital GP with special interest in skin cancer work – 2012 to 2017. Skin cancer meetings headed by melanoma specialists every month during that period.
  • Rotorua GP conference every year attend sessions with particular focus in skin cancer
  • Diploma in Dermoscopy, completing in 2019 (Bond University, Australia)
  • Southern Cross Affiliated Provider for Skin Cancer Work 2012 – current.

What happens when I book in for a full body mole check with you?

Avoid face make up. Wear clothes that are easy to remove. Moles of concern to you checked first. Then a thorough dermoscopic check from head to toe is undertaken. I check your palms and soles as well. Pictures taken of the moles that need re-looking in three to six months. Options of treatment for moles that needs treatment now discussed.

Do you do a full mole map or picture all my moles?

Molemap or Mole Map is a term used by the company who popularised it. It means taking pictures of your moles for follow up. For a vast majority of patients, this approach is not necessary. If you have a very high risk of melanoma and have more than 100 moles, it may be a good idea. I take pictures of the moles which needs follow up ( same as mole map). If I am not sure about a mole you will know about it straight up and options of treatment as well.

What happens if you think I have a melanoma?

If suspected of a melanoma, the only option is to remove it for the pathologist examination.

If I have to have surgery can I have it done it with you or someone else?

The bottom line is it is your choice. I have been a surgeon since 2003. My results are good. If you wish me to do the mole removal, the procedure discussed in detail. If referral is what you wish, I can recommend or will go with your choice.

When will the biopsy report be ready?

The biopsy is send to lab test. It takes 2 weeks for the report to be back. As soon as I know the report I will contact you and discuss options if further treatment is necessary.

If the biopsy report says I have a melanoma what does that mean in term of my survival?

Do I need to have further surgery if the biopsy report is a melanoma?

Once the melanoma is cleared what follow up do I need to have?

Can you pick up other forms of skin cancer early?

What advice would you give to protect from further sun damage?

Is surgery always necessary if you think it is a melanoma, can I use creams like Effudix or Aldara?

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