Recognising skin cancer First steps – diagnosis to treatment
Canopy Cancer Care is a leading private clinic for adult cancer patients. Our team specialises in the care of patients requiring cancer treatment. The Canopy vision is to offer New Zealanders the option of world-class cancer care, delivered locally, right here in New Zealand. Every day and with every patient we work towards this goal. The Canopy team has been providing an international standard of care since 2010. During this time we have built a strong team who are all passionate about our patients and the outcomes that matter to them most.
We have world class facilities located in
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty
Rotorua, Bay of Plenty
Hastings, Hawke's Bay
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours.
Classification of skin cancer
Skin cancer is categorised as melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). The three most common skin cancers are:
Melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer, causing over two thirds of total skin cancer deaths.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – easily treated if found early but can be fatal if left untreated.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – the most common and least dangerous skin cancer. BCC can be serious, requiring surgery if left untreated.
Incidence in New Zealand
The total number of new melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) cases contributes around 80 percent of all new cancers each year.
There are approximately 67,000 new NMSC cases each year. However, providing an exact figure for the number of NMSC is difficult as, unlike melanoma, they are not required to be recorded.
New Zealand’s skin cancer rates are among the highest in the world. Our high skin cancer rates are due to:
high levels of UV radiation in New Zealand during daylight savings months;
low ozone levels over New Zealand;
our outdoor lifestyle and tendency to ‘seek the sun’; and,
a high proportion of people with fair skin.
Causes of skin cancer
The most common cause of skin cancer is too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Overexposure to UV radiation causes the skin permanent damage.
People of all ages and skin colours can be diagnosed with skin cancer but those at a higher risk are people who have:
fair skin and red or fair hair
fair skin that burns easily no matter what hair colour
had one or more severe sunburns – especially in childhood and adolescence
used sunbeds, particularly at a young age
had previous skin cancers
a family history of melanoma (parent, brother, sister or child)
large, irregularly shaped and unevenly coloured moles
a large number of moles
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer
Speak to your health professional if you have a mole, freckle or spot that: is new or changing, that looks different from others around it, does not heal or has changed in size, thickness, shape, colour or has started to bleed.
Finding skin cancer as early as possible is the key to successful treatment.
Why choose Canopy?
Quick appointment times
-our target is to have our patients seen by a Specialist within 7 days.
The highest professional standards
-comes from selecting only highly experienced and dedicated Specialists, nurses and support staff.
Personalised treatment plans
by professionals committed to delivering quality care, patient experience and outcomes.
Global sourcing of therapies
– we will reach across the globe to ensure patients have access to the most effective drug therapies
Individualised patient care program
– with a focus on outcomes that matter to patients, the Under the Canopy program has been specifically designed to support patients navigate their personal cancer journey as comfortably as possible.
Purpose designed treatment clinics
– ensuring a calm and relaxed healing environment.
– an online news channel for the cancer community
Specialist on call 24/7
– for complete peace of mind.
Evidence based care and external accreditation
– to ensure we are delivering world class care and treatment options
Canopy Cancer Care skin tumour team
The Canopy Skin Cancer Team is made up of world class Medical Oncologists Dr Mike McCrystal in Auckland with colleagues Lisa Dawson in Whangarei and Elliott Brenman and Richard North in Tauranga.
They have extensive experience of skin cancers in the fields of research, education and patient care. The Specialist Skin Cancer Nurse is Karen Nolan who brings extensive experience to the role. If you have an adult or young adult patient with skin cancer, please contact Canopy Cancer Care with a referral to the Skin Cancer Team.
Our team specialises in the care of patients requiring cancer treatment with chemotherapy, immunotherapy, antibody therapy, hormone therapy and more targeted therapies.
Treatment options and referral options
If you have a patient experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, they may need to see a