03.Questions to ask clinics
If you do decide to visit a skin clinic, make sure you're well informed about what to expect and what questions to ask. The following tips from the Cancer Council NSW show you how. (Please note: The Cancer Council does not operate or endorse any particular skin clinic).
Ask about the qualifications, skills and experience of the person who will examine you. The Skin Cancer Society of Australia and New Zealand website lists the skin cancer education and training opportunities available to Australian doctors — does your practitioner have certificates for any of these?
Ask whether the person is a member or fellow of any professional association relevant to skin cancer (such as the Australasian College of Dermatologists).
Ask what costs are involved, not just for the initial consultation but for any follow-up treatment you may require. Some clinics promote bulk-billing, but sometimes just for the initial consultation. Certain procedures — a biopsy or spot removal, for example — often involve extra charges.
Many clinics use technology that involves computer-assisted scanning and store images of your spots for future comparison. Ask if there’s a fee for storing the images and for follow-up appointments.
Information and follow-up
The following information should be provided to you before and after your visit to a skin cancer clinic. If it isn't, make sure you ask.
- You should get information about skin cancer, prevention and sun protection.
- Information about checking your own skin should be provided.
- You should receive written results of any tests you have.
- A record of your diagnosis and treatment should be sent to your GP.
- You should be sent a reminder letter about future check-ups.