On the front line of skin cancer fight in Warwick
DR GERARD Purcell is at the front line of the battle against skin cancers in Warwick.
The Stanthorpe-based doctor treats dozens of patients each week at the Rose City’s leading skin cancer clinic at the Condamine Medical Centre.
More than 2400 skin cancers are treated or removed at the centre each year.
Dr Purcell said there was a high instance of skin cancers in Warwick.
“Most of our population comes from an Anglo-Celtic background, their skin is very sensitive to the sun,” he said.
“We live in Queensland, which until recently was the melanoma capital of the world.”
The GP surgeon works from the Condamine Medical Centre every Wednesday, treating an estimated 20 people each day for melanomas.
Dr Purcell said he wished he could treat more people.
“Most of the people that come to us do so because they have concerns about their skin, most of which are well-founded,” he said.
“I may see 20 patients, but between them they could have as many as 30 skin cancers.”
While older people are the most likely to be treated for melanomas, doctors are becoming increasingly concerned by the number of young people with skin cancers.
“Melanomas can cut off a young life very quickly,” Dr Purcell said.
“Our advice to people is to be checked annually.”
The Condamine Medical Centre is equipped with special technology, arming doctors in the fight against melanomas.
Using a DermDoc, Dr Purcell is able to quickly identify skin cancers.
“If something is concerning we’d remove it within a day or a week,” he said.
While the majority of skin cancer cases are now able to be treated in Warwick, those with serious melanomas are still referred to Brisbane.
Dr Purcell said he would refer only one patient each year for further treatment in Brisbane.
“The reason we refer is because the treatment required exceeds what we can do here,” he said.
“A 1mm melanoma is not survivable in most people.”