Lowering the odds of getting skin cancer
The long, brilliant summer with its extended daylight saving brought with it lighter evenings, more sun, faster burn times - and the increased risk of melanomas and other skin cancers.
However, there are those who mistakenly think skin cancer is the curse of only outdoor workers, excessive sunbathers and older people.
“On the contrary,” says Dr Andre Oertel of the New Zealand Skin Cancer Clinic in Remuera.
“Anyone, anywhere can develop melanoma or skin cancer at any time.
“Over the summer months we have diagnosed multiple melanomas which were lifesaving for so many people.”
The youngest person that Dr Oertel has seen with a milignant melanoma was 14 years of age, but even children as young as four years old have been detected in melanoma clinics. “Skin cancer has no respect for age or season, and remember, not all are treatable,” he says.
Dr Oertel reminds people to cover up, especially when out in the sun for any length of time, regardless of whether one is lying on the beach, gardening, or putting a roof on a house.
It’s all about lowering the odds of developing skin cancer.
Because New Zealand has one of the highest melanoma death rates in the world, and because he knows melanoma can develop in as little as weeks to months, Dr Oertel recommends that mole checks and mole mapping be a standard part of everyone’s health programme, including children.
An annual check is usually sufficient. However, where there is a history of skin cancer either personally or in the wider family, then a six-monthly check-up would be wise.
Of course, if anyone has doubts about a spot, it should be checked immediately.
While skin cancer detections remains the focus of his clinic, Dr Oertel also carries a range of dietary supplements and skin care products and offers appearance medicine, in particular Botox injections.
For a mole check or skin consultation, contact Dr Oertel at the Skin Cancer Clinic, 99 Remuera Rd, just up from Newmarket.
Phone 522-8181 or 522-9292.
Friendly consultancy: From left, Kim Baker, Dr Andre Oertel and Tennessee O’Donnell at the Skin Cancer Clinic on Remuera Rd.