This leaflet answers common questions about a referral to our rapid access skin clinic. If you would like further information, or have any particular worries, please do not hesitate to ask your nurse or doctor.
Why am I being referred to the rapid access skin clinic?
You have been referred to this clinic because your GP is concerned about the possibility of skin cancer. The clinic you have been booked into aims to provide a prompt diagnosis for patients with a new or changing skin lesion. Please remember that most skin cancers are not life threatening and can be easily treated, and that very few of our referred patients will be diagnosed with cancer.
What to bring with you to your appointment
Please bring with you a list of any medication that you are currently taking. If you have them, please also bring the outcome of previous dermatology appointments or skin checks you might have had.
What to expect at the appointment
Please allow two to three hours for your appointment. We aim to provide all of our patients with a full skin check and, if appropriate, we will take photographs and do a skin biopsy to remove a small sample of skin for testing on the same day as your consultation.
This means that some consultations might take longer than expected. In most cases it will be possible for a friend or relative to accompany you for your appointment. Please ask your nurse or doctor.
The full skin check will require you to undress during your appointment. We recommend that you allow our dermatologists to perform this skin check, as we often identify one or more conditions which may not have been recognised previously.
A full skin check is also how we detect any possible early signs of skin cancers. To ensure patient privacy and dignity is maintained, you are provided with a gown if needed and curtains to change behind.
Often, we can make a diagnosis just by examining your skin, but we sometimes need to take a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy is a relatively simple out-patient procedure carried out under local anaesthetic. This is to allow your skin lesion, or part of it, to be removed for examination under the microscope.
After your appointment
If you have had a biopsy, this will be analysed and your doctor will be in touch with the results to let you know the diagnosis within a few weeks, either via letter or phone. You may be invited for another appointment if you require further treatment.