TAKE THE TIME: Regular skin checks are advisable.
TAKE THE TIME: Regular skin checks are advisable. Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Easy habit change to save your life: 20 minutes, once a year

A SKIN cancer check can take as little as 20 minutes and can save your life.

Family Health Clinic Practice Manager Ellisha Freeman said the full-body, excluding genitals, would be checked in the skin cancer screen.

"The doctor checks over your skin with an instrument called a dermatoscope,” Mrs Freeman said.

If doctors notice anything concerning, they may perform a biopsy, testing part of a lesion to see if it's cancerous.

"A small specimen of the lesion gets sent off for testing,” she said.

"If it is something nasty, they would do a wide excision and take the whole lesion out.”

She said most patients of all ages needed to book in a scan at least once a year.

"Ideally, we recommend all patients have an annual skin check for optimal health,” she said.

Patients with a family history of skin cancers as well as those who had previously had skin cancers were encouraged to see a doctor more often.

"Sometimes that can be reduced to closer intervals on the recommendation of their doctor,” she said.

"If it was more aggressive skin cancer type, it might be a situation where they have three-monthly checks for a couple of years.”

Family Health Clinic offers skin checks year round, with many of the doctors bulk-billing.

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