• Queensland is the Skin Cancer Capital of the World.
  • Melanoma is the single most common cause of cancer deaths in Queensland.
  • MoleScreen has state of the art diagnostic and monitoring equipment.
  • We were the first Skin Cancer Clinic in Brisbane and Queensland, established in 1997.
  • We only ever operate in the patients best interest.
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  1. What is skin cancer?
    Skin cancer is a disease of skin generially caused by exposure to ultraviolet light in the form of sunlight. Skin cells multiply in an uncontrolled way invading the skin and sometimes spreading throughout the body to other organs. There are two types of skin cancer – melanoma (usually black or brown skin tumors) and non-melanoma skin cancers (usually skin coloured or pink/red, sometimes dry and scaly). Damage from ultraviolet light occurs in two ways – an acute burn that may result in melanoma and repeated, low level damage that may result in non-melanoma skin cancer.
  2. What is non-melanoma skin cancer?
    Basal Cell Carcinoma


  3. There are basically two types – basal cell carcinomas, BCCs, (the commonest) and squamous cell carcinomas, SCCs. They are skin cancers that develop from frequent, repeated sun exposure. They are more common on lighter coloured skin but dark skinned individuals may also get this type of cancer. They appear where the skin has been exposed to the most sunlight. It may appear on areas that have been poorly protected from the sun. They are common on the back because we generally wear clothing that lets in light. SCCs appear where there has been the most accumulative sun light exposure. Both may be raised or flat, round and shiny or scaly.

  4. What is a melanoma?
    melanoma - types of skin cancer


  5. A melanoma is a skin cancer that looks like a mole or a freckle. It can be flat or raised, new or occurring in a pre-existing mole. It is found anywhere on the body, most commonly on the back in the case of a man and the back or legs in a woman. Most grow slowly but some develop and spread quickly. It is important because it is fatal if allowed to spread and treatments options are limited. It can be recognised as a new mole or a change in an existing mole. There may be changes in the size shape or colour. Generally it gets bigger darker and more irregular but it may also get lighter and smaller. It occurs in 1 in 19 Queenslanders and is the commonest cause of death from cancer in Queensland.

  6. What is ultraviolet light?
    The sun emits visible light, heat in the form or infra-red radiation and invisible ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light is divided into three bands, UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA was thought to be safe and just gave us a suntan. UVB is known to cause skin cancer and UVC which also causes skin cancer, UVC is largely absorbed by the ozone layer in the atmosphere. We now know that UVA also causes skin cancer. Sun beds emit UVA and were thought to be safe. UVC is also emitted by welding and welders are at risk if the don’t cover up. UV light can cause damage acutely as a burn and chronically by long term damage. We know that sun burn, particularly blistering sunburn before the 20th birthday, is a major risk factor for melanoma. The safest place in Queensland is indoors, protective clothing should be worn when spending time outdoors, it should have a high UPF rating if outdoors for any length of time. Ultraviolet Protection Factor, UPF, is a similar rating to sunscreens, the higher the better. Exposed skin should be protected by sunscreen with as high a SPF (sun protection factor) a possible. Australian rules limit this to 30 + for any sunscreen that offers protection over an SPF of 30 but many sunscreens have higher real value.
  7. What are the main risk factors for skin cancer?
    There are many risk factors and the absence of any of them does not confer protection.

    1. a skin that burns easily especially if you have light coloured skin, blue eyes, or red hair
    2. repeated and prolong exposure to sunlight
    3. sunburn
    4. previous skin cancer
    5. history or family history of any cancer
    6. previous radiation or chemotherapy
    7. lots of moles
    8. immunosuppressed (drugs to suppress the immune system) e.g. after organ transplant
  8. Is it possible to develop skin cancer if your skin does not burn?
    Although fair skinned people are more likely to burn and develop skin cancer darker skinned people are also at risk.
  9. Does a tan provide protection against developing skin cancer?
    Sun damage still continues with a tan but as the skin is less liable to burn more damage may occur before the person is aware of it.
  10. Is it possible to safely obtain a tan from exposure to ultraviolet radiation?
    All forms of ultraviolet light damage the skin and potentially cause skin cancer.
  11. Is using a solarium or sunbed a safe way to tan?
    All forms or ultraviolet light damage the skin and cause skin cancer. Solariums are best avoided.
  12. Do you need to protect yourself on a dull day?
    There is still a substantial amount of ultraviolet radiation present even on a dull even rainy day. Protection still needs to be used.
  13. Can you only be harmed by the sun during the middle of the day?
    Ultraviolet light levels rise peaking at around mid-day but is present during all daylight hours.
  14. How much sun exposure is required to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D?
    Most people would get enough incidental sun exposure during an average day without spending any more time in the sun. If vitamin D levels are low then where appropriate supplements should be taken rather than more time spent in the sun.