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Tips from a Pathologist on how to avoid skin cancer

Tips from a Pathologist on how to avoid skin cancer

Few people know melanomas as intimately as Australian Clinical Labs Pathologist and skin cancer expert Dr Alex Nirenberg. For more than 23 years, Dr Nirenberg has been diagnosing cancer tissue, and has trained doctors to improve their skills. He has looked at literally hundreds of thousands of specimens under the microscope.

“There are many types of skin cancer. Some are more dangerous than others and so are treated differently. In order to ascertain the type of cancer, your doctor will send a piece of your skin with the cancer to a laboratory. Trained scientists will process the tissue so that it will be ready for an experienced specialist doctor (a pathologist) to look at it under the microscope. This is necessary to determine the type of cancer and how bad it is (the grade) at a cellular level. This information is very important so that your doctor can give the correct treatment for the type of cancer,” Dr Nirenberg said.

With summer around the corner, patients tend to find moles and bumps that have been hidden under winter clothing. Here are some tips from Dr Nirenberg on how to avoid and manage skin cancer.

  • Keep a look out for moles, spots or bumps that come up quickly or those that have started to change colour or become red
  • Have regular check-ups by a GP
  • Remember the earlier you can get treatment, the better the chances
  • If you do notice something, don’t try to treat it yourself with an over the counter medicine. These can alter the spot’s appearance and make it harder to identify.
  • As always, don’t get sunburnt and avoid going out in the sun during the hottest part of the day.