Understanding The Different Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a prevalent and potentially serious condition that affects millions of Australians each year. At My Doctors Clinic Surfers, we understand the importance of recognising the various types of skin cancer and their characteristics to promote early detection and treatment. In this article, we delve into the different types of skin cancer, their symptoms, and prevention strategies to help you stay informed and protected.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways 

  • Know Your ABCDEs: Familiarise yourself with the ABCDEs of melanoma – Asymmetry, Border irregularity, colours variation, Diameter over 6mm, and Evolving size, shape or colours.
  • Sun Protection is Key: Regular use of sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade are essential preventive measures.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Early detection through regular skin checks can significantly improve treatment outcomes.
  • Understand the Types: Knowing the differences between basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma can guide in recognising suspicious changes.
  • Professional Advice: Always seek professional medical advice for any concerns regarding skin changes or lesions.

The Different Types of Skin Cancer 

Skin cancer is primarily categorised into three main types: Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and Melanoma. Each type has its unique characteristics and levels of severity.

  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): The most common yet least dangerous form of skin cancer, BCC grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. It often appears as a painless raised area of skin, which can be shiny, pearly, or a different colours than the surrounding skin.
  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC is more serious than BCC but less likely to spread than melanoma. It typically appears as a thick, rough, scaly patch that can bleed easily. Early detection and treatment are crucial.
  3. Melanoma: The most aggressive form of skin cancer, melanoma, can spread rapidly to other parts of the body if not detected early. It often looks like a mole but can exhibit changes in colours, size, or feel.

Prevention and Early Detection 

Preventing skin cancer involves a combination of protecting your skin from the sun and regular skin checks. The Cancer Council offers guidelines on effective sun protection strategies. Additionally, becoming familiar with your skin and what is normal for you can help in recognising any unusual changes early on.

When to See a Doctor 

If you notice any new spots on your skin, or changes in size, shape, or colours of existing spots, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. At My Doctors Clinic Surfers Paradise, our team of experienced doctors can provide skin checks and advice on the best course of action.

Innovations in Skin Cancer Treatment 

The landscape of skin cancer treatment has evolved significantly, with research and technology paving the way for more effective and less invasive options. Here are some of the cutting-edge treatments currently being explored or used in the field:

  1. Targeted Therapy: This form of treatment uses drugs designed to target specific genetic mutations within cancer cells. For melanoma, particularly those with the BRAF mutation, targeted therapies have shown to improve survival rates dramatically.
  2. Immunotherapy: Leveraging the body’s immune system to fight cancer, immunotherapy has been a breakthrough, especially for advanced melanoma. Drugs like checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionised treatment, offering hope where traditional chemotherapy has failed.
  3. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): PDT involves the use of drug treatments that become active when exposed to a particular type of light, destroying cancer cells with minimal damage to surrounding tissue. It’s particularly useful for treating superficial skin cancers.
  4. Mohs Surgery: A precise surgical technique where layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. It’s highly effective for certain types of skin cancer, ensuring the complete removal of cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue.

The Role of Technology and Research

The fight against skin cancer is bolstered by ongoing research and technological advancements. Artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose skin cancer and machine learning are now being applied to dermatology, significantly improving the accuracy of skin cancer diagnoses. This innovative use of AI in diagnosing skin cancer represents a major leap forward, offering the potential for earlier detection and better outcomes for patients. Devices and apps that allow individuals to monitor their skin and moles over time are becoming more sophisticated, offering tools for early self-detection that can prompt a professional examination when necessary.

Lifestyle Factors and Skin Cancer Risk 

While genetic factors play a significant role in skin cancer risk, lifestyle choices can also have a substantial impact. Exposure to UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancer types. Adopting a sun-smart lifestyle, including the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing hats and protective clothing, and avoiding the sun during peak intensity hours, can significantly reduce your risk.

Diet and exercise, though more indirectly, can also influence skin cancer risk. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants and regular physical activity can boost the immune system, potentially offering some degree of protection against the development of cancer.

The Importance of Community Awareness and Education 

Raising awareness about skin cancer, its risks, and the importance of early detection cannot be overstated. Community programs, educational campaigns, and resources play a vital role in informing the public about how to protect themselves and the importance of regular skin checks. My Doctors Clinic Surfers Paradise is committed to being a part of this educational effort, offering resources and services aimed at preventing and detecting skin cancer.

Personal Stories and Support Networks 

Hearing personal stories from those who have experienced skin cancer can be incredibly powerful. These narratives not only provide insight into the emotional and physical journey of dealing with skin cancer but also highlight the importance of early detection and treatment. Support networks, whether online or in-person, offer invaluable spaces for sharing experiences, advice, and encouragement, fostering a community of support and understanding.

Moving Forward: The Future of Skin Cancer Care 

The future of skin cancer care looks promising, with ongoing advancements in treatment, diagnosis, and prevention. The development of more sophisticated diagnostic tools, personalised medicine tailored to individual genetic profiles, and continued emphasis on prevention and early detection will shape the landscape of skin cancer care. As we move forward, the role of clinics like My Doctors Clinic Surfers Paradise in providing comprehensive skin cancer services from prevention education and screening to treatment and follow-up care remains crucial. Scheduling regular skin check appointments is a key part of this proactive approach. By staying informed about the latest developments in skin cancer research and treatment, and by fostering a proactive approach to skin health, we can all contribute to reducing the impact of skin cancer within our communities.


Understanding the different types of skin cancer and taking proactive steps towards prevention and early detection can significantly impact your health outcomes. At My Doctors Clinic Surfers Paradise, we’re here to support you with information, advice, and professional medical care. If you have concerns about your skin or wish to discuss prevention strategies, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Your health is our priority.

Frequently Asked Question

Early signs include new growths or sores that won’t heal, changes in existing moles or spots, such as changes in colours, size, or shape, and any itching, tenderness, or pain in these areas.

Protect yourself by seeking shade, wearing sun-protective clothing, applying broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly, and avoiding tanning beds.

It’s recommended to check your skin monthly for any new or changing lesions.

The ABCDE rule stands for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, colours variation, Diameter over 6mm, and Evolving size, shape, or colours.

When detected early, many forms of skin cancer are highly treatable.

Podiatrist Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke is a Podiatrist who specialises in the treatment and rehabilitation of pain in the foot, ankle and lower limb. Paul has worked amongst multidisciplinary clinical settings including GP’s, Podiatric Surgeons, Vascular Surgeons & Specialists, Chronic disease specialists and Podiatrists who specialise in Biomechanics and orthoses manufacturing and modifications. Paul is a graduate of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales.

Paul has a reputation for being particularly skilled and precise with a scalpel. His professional clinical interests include but are not limited to:

  • Toe nail surgeries (both PNA/TNA with matrix phenolisation). Toe and nail pathologies (Elongated nails, toe and nail deformity and fungal nail infections).
  • Achilles Tendonopathies (Trained in shockwave therapy). Heel pain (Plantar fasciitis, fat pad atrophy, nerve entrapment, apophysitis and osteochondrosis)
  • Ankle pathologies (Sprains, nerve impingements and tarsal coalitions)
  • Forefoot pathologies (Forefoot deformities/pain, Morton’s neuroma, bursitis, bunions and arthritis). Mid foot pathologies (Osteoarthritis and Tibial Post dysfunction/adult acquired flatfoot deformity)
  • Hip and lower back pain from mal foot alignment and tibial/femoral torsion
  • Paediatrics (Wart debridement, developmental growth milestones, orthotics, general assessments and deformities of the lower limb)
  • Diabetic assessments and education
  • Biomechanics and orthoses manufacturing and modifications (Custom and off the shelf devices and biomechanical assessments).


Paul Clarke forms a great asset to any multidisciplinary clinical team. Renowned for his kind and warm nature, Paul tends to build great rapport with patients and medical professionals alike.

Physiotherapist Patrick Harrington

Patrick Harrington Physiotherapist, B Ex Sc, M Phty Patrick has a strong interest for learning about the human body and educating on the best ways to ensure successful rehabilitation when injured.

Patrick graduated Griffith University with a Bachelor in Exercise Science, followed by a Masters in Physiotherapy degree. With a background in competitive surf-lifesaving and swimming, he has a passion for treating and educating on injuries relating to the musculoskeletal system. Patrick approaches each individual patient by educating and empowering them, in order to achieve the best health outcomes possible.

Patrick’s professional interests include:

Musculoskeletal Injuries: Treating areas including shoulders, neck & lower back, ankles, hips, and wrists, by creating programs containing manual therapy and exercises to benefit each individual patient.

Cardiorespiratory Conditions: Education and use of a variety of breathing techniques, as well as walking programs to obtain the best health outcomes.

Neurological Conditions: Retraining of gait, developing muscle strength, and developing a specific program in order to restore deficits as much as possible.

Dietitian Kailey Henry

Kailey has a passion for food and learning how nutrients interact and influence the health of our bodies.
Kailey graduated with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics from Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and has since been sharing her passion and expertise within the community through individual consultations and group education. Kailey takes a holistic and individualized approach to nutrition, with a focus on empowering each individual to make positive, lifelong lifestyle changes through achievable goals.

Kailey’s professional interests include, but are not limited to:

  • Paediatric nutrition and pregnancy/breastfeeding
  • Education & strategies for fussy eaters, faltering growth, meeting key nutrition recommendations for conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Chronic disease management
  • Nutritional management of diabetes, cholesterol health, cardiovascular disease, COPD, renal disease and liver disease.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Minimising abdominal discomfort, improving altered bowel habits, education on food choices for self-management.

Dr Day Hong Ma

Qualifications: Currently registered in the Medical Council of Australia as a Vocational Registered GP and Specialist General Surgeon. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery University of Adelaide, South Australia MBBS. Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh and London Master degree in Skin Cancer Medicine in University of Queensland. Extensive experience in various aspects of General Practice. In the past I have been a Senior Lecturer of the University of Queensland and Assistant Professor of Bond University involving teaching medical students. I was a supervisor for the Royal Australasian College of General Practice, involved in training junior GP. I also trained many Overseas Trained Doctors. At the present time I am a GP with the following special interests : 1. Skin Cancers skin cancer checks with Mol Max and dermoscopy. I was awarded a Professional Diploma of Dermoscopy from the International Dermoscopy Society surgical excisions of complex skin cancers ( sun cancers and melanomas ) non surgical approach to some skin cancers and precancerous lesions such as Photo Dynamic Therapy and cautery and curettage. 2. Cosmetic Medicine This includes micro needling, platelet rich plasma, and injectables such as fillers and neuromuscular modulators. I have completed the training course under the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine and Australian Skin Skills Education and Training. Dr Ma also speaks Chinese Mandarin

Dr Greeshma Tummala

I am overseas trained GP and practiced for more than 5 years in India although completed AMC licensing exam here. In India, I have practiced in all aspects of general practice.

My areas of Interest are: Women’s Health, cervical cancer screening, Antenatal Care, Child Immunisations, Chronic Disease Management, Implanon Insertion and Removal, Mental Health, Pregnancy Counselling, Travel Vaccinations, Women’s Health, Medicinal Treatment.

Dr. Tariq Hayat Jamaldini

Qualifications: MBBS, AMC Certified, FRACGP, Fellowship Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Speaks: English, Balochi, Brahui, Hindi, and Urdu

Dr. Tariq Hayat Jamaldini is a highly experienced General Practitioner (GP) / Family Medicine Physician with a distinguished career spanning over 20 years in the field of healthcare. Renowned for his profound knowledge, comprehensive and compassionate approach, Dr. Tariq Jamaldini ensures that every family member, from infants to seniors, receives the individualised care they deserve. With a strong commitment to promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of his patients, Dr. Tariq Hayat Jamaldini has solidified his reputation as a trusted healthcare professional in the community. His medical practice is built on a foundation of integrity, empathy, and a genuine desire to improve the lives of those he treats. Through his dedication to continues learning and clinical excellence, he has expertly diagnosed, treated, and managed a wide range of health conditions, placing him at the forefront of Family Medicine.

Areas of Expertise:

Dr. Tariq Jamaldini’s diverse expertise encompasses various areas of medicine, making him a well-rounded practitioner capable of addressing a wide range of patient needs. His dedication to improving the health and well-being of his patients continues to be the driving force behind his successful medical career. 

  • General Practice: Tariq Hayat Jamaldini is a trusted General Practitioner (GP) who focuses on providing a wide range of general medical services to patients of all ages. Whether you need preventive care, health assessments, or treatment for common illnesses, you can trust Dr. Jamaldini to deliver compassionate and personalized healthcare with his holistic approach.  
  • Cosmetic Medicine: Dr Tariq Hayat Jamaldini has been actively involved in performing cosmetic procedures since 2009. His interest in cosmetic medicine reflects his belief in the importance of helping patients look and feel their best. His expertise in cosmetic procedures, such as anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, PRP injections, allows him to provide patients with safe and effective solutions to enhance their appearance and boost their confidence.
  • Skin Cancer: Tariq Jamaldini takes a proactive approach to skin cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. His comprehensive knowledge of skin cancer, coupled with his skill in performing screenings and providing treatment options, has saved many lives. 
  • Medicinal Prescriber: Tariq Jamaldini is a certified and authorized specialist prescriber for medicinal, helping patients manage chronic pain and various medical conditions with this alternative therapy. His thorough understanding of the medical benefits of ensures that patients receive the best possible care. 
  • Men’s Health: Tariq Jamaldini understands the unique healthcare needs of men and provides specialized services tailored to men’s health concerns. Whether its addressing issues related to prostate health, sexual health, hormonal imbalances, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculations, hair loss or overall wellness, Dr. Jamaldini is here to support men in their healthcare journey.
  • Opioid Dependence Treatment: Dr Tariq Jamaldini has been a licensed opioid prescriber with Queensland Opioid Treatment Program since 2013. During this time, he has successfully treated and stabilized a significant number of patients who were struggling with opioid dependency. If you or a loved one is facing the challenges of opioid addiction, Dr. Jamaldini provides compassionate and evidence-based treatment choices. His steady dedication is focused on assisting individuals in their journey to overcome addiction and reclaim their health and overall well-being.

Dr Tariq Hayat Jamaldini dedication to providing high-quality healthcare, combined with his multifaceted expertise, makes him a respected and valued member of the medical community. His patients appreciate his unwavering commitment to their well-being and the comprehensive care he provides across various medical disciplines.

Book an online appointment or call: 07 55922299

Dr Altaf Latif Ayyaril

General Practitioner, Male, MBBS, AMC, Fellowship Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.Speaks Malayalam, and English  Dr Altaf Latif Ayyaril is a vocationally qualified and experienced General Practitioner from India having completed his Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, India in 2002. He started his medical career in various medical facilities in Kerala, India. He moved to Australia in 2007 and commenced working at Alice Springs Hospital, NT. He has since worked in hospitals in Melbourne, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and commenced General Practice in 2016 in Kilcoy QLD followed by North Stradbroke Island and Beaudesert. He was awarded a Fellow of the Royal Australia College of General Practitioners in 2021. Dr Altaf has special interests in Chronic Disease Management, Acute Management and Mental health amongst other areas of General Practice. He also performs skin cancer checks and minor skin procedures. Dr Altaf speaks Malayalam in addition to English.  

Areas of interest:

  • General Family Medicine
  • Mens health
  • Chronic disease management
  • Health assessments
  • Mental health
  • Skin cancer Checks
  • Minor surgical procedures.

Dr Paul Fisher

Diploma of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Dip RACOG) Dr.Fisher qualified as a Pharmacist before completing a medical degree at The University of Tasmania. After working in hospitals & General Practice in Tasmania & Queensland, He commenced work at My Doctors Clinic (formerly The Day & Night Medical Centre) 20 years ago. He is a Medical Officer in The Air Force Reserve & has worked as a Doctor for the Defence Department over the past 30 years. Paul is interested in all areas of General Practice with a special interest in Mental Health (He is a Doctor for Beyond Blue), Obstetrics (Maternity) & Diabetes.