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New skin cancer detection service just in time for the sun

New skin cancer detection service just in time for the sun

Waikato GP Dr Sakkie Fourie is offering a new skin scanning service to Waikato patients that cuts in half the time and cost of similar services currently available to them.

Dr Fourie works as a general practitioner as part of the wider general practice team at Avalon Medical Centre in Hamilton, from which he also runs the skin scanning clinic.

Dr Fourie trained in the Austrian skin scanning system, which is similar to Mole Mapping, in Brisbane.

He said the service is common practice in Europe and Australia; however there were very few doctors offering this type of skin scanning in New Zealand.

"Skin scanning is a more personalised and less costly service than what's currently offered," said Dr Fourie, who has been a GP for 28 years.

"Rather than a nurse taking photos of every single mole on a patient's body and then sending the images onto me to read, I take photos of only the moles which are of concern, and can talk the patient through the process and explain which moles I think need further analysis and why. A more 'hands-on approach 'is used."

He uses moles with dots on them as an example.

"If a mole has six dots, I will take a photo of it and compare it to the same image one year later, and if it has 10 dots, it needs to be removed.

"This means the patient is able to get some peace of mind and reassurance then and there and walk away from the appointment knowing what the plan is, and having asked questions along the way."

Dr Fourie is able to remove superficial cancers in his clinic, while invasive cancers are referred to a plastic surgeon for removal. This can sometimes happen after a consultation if time permits or by appointment at a later date.

Dr Fourie is originally from South Africa, but has been in New Zealand for 18 years. He has worked predominantly in Hamilton, but spent two years at a skin cancer clinic in Brisbane and then out of a practice in Te Awamutu for five years, before returning to Hamilton last year.

He is a New Zealand vocationally trained GP with a certificate in Dermoscopy and Skin Cancer Surgery in Primary Care.

Skin scanning appointments take 30 minutes and cost $150. Visit www.skinscannningnz.com for more information.