Skin Checks are a Major Concern

With summer approaching fast, and with the heat rising in Australia, we are continuing to place our health at risk by neglecting to get our skin regularly checked for skin cancer. New Australian federal research shows 71 percent of Australians have not had a professional skin checks in the past year, and 39 percent of Australians have not had a professional skin care placing them at higher risk of dying from skin cancer. The Australian Government has now implements the TAL Spot Checker survey scheme, which found that while 71 percent of Australians recorded sun safety as extremely important, 26 percent found it somewhat important and 3 percent not that important, choosing to sunbake in the boiling heat with no skin protection, or better known as slip, slop, slap!

A total of 20 percent of Australians during the survey did not know how frequently they ought to obtain their skin checked by a local doctor or skin specialist. Sally Phillips, the TAL general director of health services, says we should get our skin checked at least once a year. One in four respondents in the poll of 1000 Australians said they had been too busy to receive their skin checked and 15 percent said they had not gotten it done because they did not want to invest the money. This is despite several services offering bulk billing services. At the 18-29 year-old age bracket 54 percent of respondents had never had their skin checked by a skin doctor.

A new set of pop up skin care clinics will be set up by TAL, Australia’s largest life insurance carrier, this summer at a few of the country’s most iconic places — Bondi Beach in Sydney, Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Federation Square in Melbourne, Henley Beach in Adelaide and City Beach in Perth. TAL general director of health services Sally Phillips said Australians should obtain their skin checked once a year, this service will also allow for mole removal for people who need it most, and are worried their skin may be depleting at a fast rate.

More than 2000 people per day are treated for skin cancer in Australia, that is 750,000 each year. This amount would be significantly lower if people took simple steps to protect themselves, like committing to a regular expert skin check annually to assist in early detection. One in four respondents in the poll of 1000 Australians said they had been too busy to receive their skin checked.

Self-checking is a excellent first step in early detection of skin cancer, but we urge Australians to receive a professional check each year, and according to the Cancer Council Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some kind of skin cancer before they are 70. Nearly 14,000 people are expected to be diagnosed this year based on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Craig Sinclair, chair of the Cancer Council’s public health committee said not every Australian had to receive their skin checked once a year. “The significant thing is really for all people to take responsibility and keep an eye out for stains changing in shape, color or size and see a physician if something seems suspicious,” Mr Sinclair said.

“We don’t recommend people have yearly skin checks with their GP unless they’re somebody who’s at particularly higher risk. They may be somebody with a family history of skin cancer, somebody who has already had skin cancers removed or has a large number of moles on their skin or a lot of freckles.

“It should really be about self-surveillance and educating yourself about what to be aware of.”