Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Skin cancer diagnosis

1-minute read

Skin cancers can be either melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers. The vast majority of deaths from skin cancer are from melanoma. The two main types of non-melanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Non-melanoma skin cancers are found more commonly on sun exposed areas such as the face or forearms.

Skin cancer is often found by a person noticing a new spot or a change in an existing mole. For skin cancers to be diagnosed earlier, all Australians, particularly those more at risk of skin cancer, should regularly check their skin for any changes.

A useful online calculator has been developed that enables you to work out your likely skin type, what sun precautions you should be taking and how often you should get your skin checked by a doctor.

Skin cancer is diagnosed by physical examination and biopsy.

A biopsy is a quick and simple procedure where part or all of the spot is removed and sent to a laboratory. It may be done by your family doctor or you can be referred to a dermatologist or surgeon. Results may take about a week to be ready.

Last reviewed: July 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Skin Cancer Clinic Brisbane - Who needs a skin check & why?

The aim of the skin check is to make an early diagnosis of skin cancer & melanoma whilst keeping biopsy rate as low as possible. Hand-held and Digital Dermoscopy Equipment is utilised.

Read more on Skin Check website

Skin biopsy to diagnose skin cancer

Skin biopsy is a common medical procedure in which a small section of skin is removed to test for melanoma, skin cancer or another skin condition.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Screening for symptoms of skin cancer and cancerous moles

Coming into the summer months, it is a good idea to have your skin checked for any suspicious lesions that may lead to skin cancer.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Benign Skin Lesions - Skin Cancer Clinic

Benign Lesions Commonly found at a routine Skin Check. Benign Lesions may cause concern because of the possibility of skin cancer, the lesion getting in ...

Read more on Skin Check website

Skin cancer diagnosis & treatment - SunSmart

If found early 95% of skin cancers can be treated successfully the treatment depends on the type and severity of the skin cancer.

Read more on Cancer Council Victoria website

Cancer Biopsy Testing - Information & Support - CanTeen

A biopsy is a surgical procedure used to determine whether a tumour is benign or cancerous.Learn more about diagnosis and treatments with CanTeen.

Read more on CanTeen website

Skin Cancer Self-Check - South East Skin Clinic

How and Why do a skin cancer self check? Read all about the benefits, risks, and best method from an experienced Skin Cancer Doctor.

Read more on Skin Check website

Skin cancer

At least two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

Read more on WA Health website

Skin Cancer Surgery - Skin Cancer Clinic

Skin Cancer Surgery aims to remove the whole cancer, minimise recurrence, and with a satisfactory cosmetic outcome. Surgery is required for all types of me ...

Read more on Skin Check website

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans - South East Skin Clinic

Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is a rare type of cancer of the skin & the diagnosis will be made by the pathologist when an unusual skin lesion is removed for histology.

Read more on Skin Check website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo