the cancer cost of the pandemic revealed
Hadj said he was now seeing the real-world results of that trend, with cases presenting to his office more than doubling compared to pre-pandemic figures.
He said in June, 109 new patients presented with skin cancers to his office, compared to 50 patients in June 2019.
Those numbers would only grow, he said, because the backlog from both the public and private hospital systems was now starting to collide.
“Queensland Health is farming out public patients to private surgeons because the public surgeons are fully booked,” he said.
“Many of the GPs who send me patients have effectively closed their books because they’re too busy with skin cancer work
He said the stakes for different types of skin cancers was different – a basal-cell carcinoma, which presents as scaly or bloody skin, might only slowly progress over a year or so, while a squamous cell carcinoma or a melanoma would grow much more aggressively.
But whatever the underlying cancer, delaying diagnosis and treatment would have serious implications for patients.
“If the cancer metastasises and moves to other parts of the body, then in addition to quite a serious chunk of skin removal you then have chemotherapy and radiotherapy on top of that,” he said.
“But even if it’s just dermal, taking an extra centimetre of skin off makes a big difference when its on your eyelid or nose.”
Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, and Queensland has one of the highest incidences in Australia, making regular checks essential for all in the Sunshine State.
The importance of regular skin checks is being highlighted this week, with National Skin Cancer Action Week running until November 26.