23 November 2017
It’s National Skin Cancer Action Week and Cancer Council SA is putting the spotlight on the importance of early detection of skin cancers following new South Australian research revealing that less than half of South Australians are checking their skin.
Results from a new Cancer Council Survey indicate the proportion of South Australians not checking their skin for suspicious spots that may be skin cancer in the previous 12 months continues to be over 50%.
Adding to this concern, the results of the same survey revealed one in three South Australians reported getting one or more sunburns last summer, increasing their risk of developing skin cancer.
Cancer Council SA Manager of Education and Information, Joanne Rayner, said that with summer on the doorstep, it is a timely reminder for everyone to regularly check their skin.
“With the summer weather now upon us, more focus will shift towards skin protection, but it is also important for people to monitor the health of their skin,” Ms Rayner said.
“Always protect your skin when UV levels are 3 and above and get to know what your skin looks like, what freckles and moles you have so you can spot any changes. Ask your partner or close friend or family member to check areas of your skin that you can’t see yourself for skin changes.
“Given that Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, it is concerning that this latest data indicates people are not regularly checking their skin. A sunburn or suntan may fade but the damage lasts a lifetime and the earlier any skin changes can be detected the better the outcome.
“UV damage all adds up and every time a person spends time unprotected in the sun, it increases their risk of skin cancer - a lesson many older Australians are now learning.”
Local Dermatologist, Dr Rachel Manifold, said that this new data raised some important issues.
“Early detection of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, is important and may just save your life,” Dr Manifold said.
“The earlier a skin cancer can be diagnosed the better the treatment outcomes. Look for changes in any new or existing spots, freckles or moles that are looking different in colour shape or size.
“I encourage everyone to check their skin regularly and to see their GP if they notice changes. Those people who are working outdoors or spend time in the sun as part of recreational pursuits need to be extra vigilant.”
Ms Rayner added that National Skin Cancer Action Week is an important time to raise awareness about the dangers of the sun’s UV levels and taking action to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
SunSmart’s free App can be downloaded from Cancer Council SA.
For more information about SunSmart principles visit cancersa.org.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org