Follow-up Appointments

Your doctor has recommended that you return to Spot Check for a further appointment. This might be necessary to remove a suspect spot or mole, or for further photography to see whether a spot is changing.

If you have had a full body skin check at Spot Check in the last year, most follow-up appointments are bulk-billed for the following 12 months.

This page tells you why your follow-up is important and what to expect.

Please let us know if you can't attend your appointment or you need to change the time. If you don't arrive for your appointment and you haven't given us notice, you may be charged a fee for non-attendance.

Follow-up Photographs

If you have skin lesions that look unusual, but not at high risk of being skin cancer, your doctor will usually ask you to return in about three months to re-check them. Your check-up isn’t complete without this follow-up visit.

These extra photos are a type of test for skin cancer:

  • If your spots look the same after 3 - 6 months, they probably aren't skin cancers. We can avoid unnecessary procedures to biopsy them.
  • If they have changed, it might be the earliest sign of skin cancer. In this situation, the spot might need to be removed.

Procedure

If your doctor thinks that one of your spots is a skin cancer (or there's a strong chance that it could be), you might need to return for a biopsy or excision procedure. The procedure involves removing part of, or the whole, lesion so that the cells can be microscopically examined by a skin pathologist to give a diagnosis.

Most procedures take no more than 10-20 minutes, although your appointment will be longer than this to allow time for photographs and to ensure that the procedure does not need to be rushed.

Review of Skin Lesion

Your doctor has identified a spot or an area that needs to be re-checked later. This usually means that:

  • the spot looks likely to improve without any treatment (for example, if it's been scratched or irritated and the doctor wants to see it after it has settled), or
  • the doctor has treated the spot, or requested you to treat it, and would like to see the results of treatment.

Reviewing the skin lesion allows the doctor to decide whether further treatment or investigation is necessary.

Annual Check-up

We usually recommend a full body check-up every year, but in some cases we might recommend a longer or shorter time between check-ups. 

Your annual check-up appointment will involve a brief consultation with a doctor to discuss any concerns or changes in your skin. This will be followed by a full body examination and photographs as required.

Melanoma Review

Once you've had a melanoma, you need regular skin checks for the rest of your life because of the increased risk of future melanomas.

For the first 3-5 years after your initial melanoma diagnosis, a review appointment involves :

  • full body examination, as for a routine skin cancer check-up, which may include photos of lesions of concern and/or your whole body
  • inspection of the original melanoma site to check for recurrence
  • checking glands in your neck, groin and other areas, as well as your liver and spleen for evidence of enlargement — this might be a sign of spread of the melanoma

Depending on the nature of the original melanoma, where and when it was diagnosed, you may need 3, 6 or 12-monthly melanoma reviews. In many cases these reviews are shared between Spot Check and someone else such as a dermatologist or hospital melanoma clinic.

Removal of Stitches

After an excision procedure, you will normally need to return to Spot Check for removal of the stitches.

The wound will be checked to make sure it's healed adequately for the stitches to be removed. Once they are removed, we'll advise you on how to best protect and treat the wound over the following months to reduce the risk of complications and minimise scarring.

Wound Review

Sometimes after a procedure the wound breaks open or may become infected. When this happens, you may need to return to Spot Check to have the wound re-dressed. Unfortunately, this often requires several visits.