Dermatology treats cancers affecting the skin.
The two main types of skin cancer are melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma is often caused by too much sun exposure and the first sign could be a new mole or a change in an existing mole. Non-melanoma cancer refers to a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin.
Patients are referred to Dermatology by their GP because they have noticed something new or changed on their skin and in clinic all of your skin will be looked at.
Anything that might be skin cancer is removed and analysed, this might happen on the same day or at another appointment.
Some patients with Melanoma may have to have further tests and treatment at The Royal London Hospital or St Bartholomew's Hospital.
Further information about skin cancer can be found on the Macmillan and the British Association of Dermatologists websites.
You may have the entire skin cancer removed or just a part of it initially.
Any skin that is removed from the skin is examined under a microscope.
If just a part of the skin cancer is removed, after diagnosis is confirmed you may have further treatment with surgery, radiotherapy or cream.
Some melanoma patients may need further surgery at The Royal London Hospital and/or medical treatment with the oncology team at St Bartholomew's Hospital.
Some other tests may also be carried out – sampling lymph nodes, scans.
Further information can be found on the Macmillan website.
Your treatment options
All patients with squamous cell carcinoma (a type of non-melanoma) and melanoma are discussed at MDT (multidisciplinary team) meetings weekly. This is where a group of health professionals with expert knowledge in skin cancers meet and manage your investigations and treatment.
You do not attend the meeting but a member of the dermatology team will tell you the results of the meeting, usually at your next clinic appointment.
When you are given a non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis you will be given written information. Generally you don’t need to keep coming to clinic to be seen.
When you are given a melanoma diagnosis you will be given written information along with contact details of your key workers. You may also meet one of these key workers.
It may be a good idea to take someone with you to appointments. You may also find it useful to have a list of questions ready to make sure you get the information you need.
Whipps Cross Hosptial
Dermatology clinics are held Monday – Friday at Whipps Cross Hospital, Outpatients, Area 4
You will at the very least need further surgery and this may take place either at Whipps Cross or The Royal London Hospital.
Your care team
Our clinical team is made up of consultant dermatologists, specialist registrar, clinical fellows, GPs with specialist interest, nurse specialists and dermatology nurses.
Our admin support team is our MDT co-ordinator, receptionist and medical secretaries.
Best way to get in touch if you have a skin cancer diagnosis is via a specialist nurse.