FAQ on Skin Checks with Dr Ben Esdaile
DO YOU JUST TREAT SKIN CANCER?
No. Although my particular interest is skin cancer, I also deal with all skin issues.
WHAT CAUSES MELANOMA?
It appears to be a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors including sun exposure,
family history, how easy your skin burns and having many moles.
ARE YOU SEEING MORE CASES?
Around 13,500 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year. Skin cancer
rates are more than four times higher than 40 years ago. It is now the second most common cancer
in people under the age of 50. This increase in melanoma is partly because we are getting better at
diagnosing it, but the ease of foreign travel and sun exposure are likely to also be a big factor.
WHAT IS DERMOSCOPY?
A dermatoscope is a handheld device that allows you to see structures in the skin that you are
unable to see with the naked eye. Early melanoma has certain structures that can be seen using the
dermatoscope and help identify it earlier. Dermoscopy also helps pick up other types of skin cancer.
DOES DERMOSCOPY PICK UP MELANOMA EARLIER?
Yes. It is the gold standard in screening moles and there is clear evidence it helps pick up melanoma
earlier as well as reduce the unnecessary removal of innocent moles.
IS IT TREATABLE IF PICKED UP EARLY?
Yes. Melanoma is completely curable if picked up early enough.
IS IT WORTH HAVING A FULL SKIN CHECK AND WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
A full skin check involves examination of all your moles from your head to your toes. It is worth
having a full skin check as many skin cancers are picked up this way. A study undertaken at the
Whittington Hospital recently showed that 30% of all skin cancers were picked up from a full
skin check, rather than from the lesion that was originally referred.
CAN MELANOMA BE PREVENTED?
The most important way to prevent melanoma is sun protection. Do not allow yourself to burn,
never use sunbeds and protect your skin with clothes and broad-spectrum sunscreen when
exposed to sunlight. In an ideal world, you would also have an annual professional skin check with
HOW CAN I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR A CHECK OR A SKIN PROBLEM?
Dr Esdaile runs private dermatology clinics at Highgate Private Hospital on Tuesdays evenings and Saturday mornings. To book an appointment, please contact the Client Services team at Highgate Private Hospital on 020 8341 4142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Ben Esdaile
is Consultant Dermatologist at Highgate Private Hospital, specialising in general dermatology, skin cancer and mole/skin checks. Dr Esdaile undertook his specialist dermatological training at Oxford, where he developed a particular interest in skin cancer diagnosis and surgery. He lectures nationally on this topic to students, GPs and peers.
A private consultation with Dr Esdaile at Highgate Private Hospital costs £200 if you are self-funding your treatment. We accept all major health insurers, but please contact your insurance company prior to booking an appointment if you plan to use your private health insurance.