Every November, National Skin Cancer Action Week aims to remind Australians of the importance of protecting themselves from the sun’s rays.
Skin cancer has a 69% survival rate; however, those odds are dramatically increased by early detection, making campaigns like this week a life-saving initiative.
Every 4 minutes another Australian is diagnosed with skin cancer and two in three Australians are diagnosed with cancer by the age of 70. Overall, 80% of all recorded cancer cases in Australia are varying forms of skin cancer.
With an estimated $1 billion spent per year by Australia treating skin cancer, it is not hyperbole to say that skin cancer IS Australia’s disease.
The week also serves to highlight alarming stats such as these as a reminder of the importance of early detection and to help people identify some of the early signs.
The leading cause of skin cancer is UV damage, a preventable form of cancer, that can be avoided with sun protection.
One of the main campaigns of the National Skin Cancer Action Week is ‘Slip, Slop, Slap!’:
• Slip on protective clothing, such as long-sleeved tops.
• Slop on some sun cream, at least SPF30.
• Slap on a hat to keep your face and neck shaded.
• Seek out shade to keep cool and out of the sun.
• Slide on your sunglasses, to protect your eyes.
Unfortunately, Australia has a culture of tanning in the warmer months, with many often attempting to gain a ‘healthy colour’. Although it should be noted that there is no such thing as a healthy tan, tanning is a sign that you have been exposed to UV radiation at a level that has damaged your skin and ultimately increased your risk of skin cancer.
With the weather heating up and summer just around the corner, now is the best time to educate yourself on protecting your skin and the signs of skin cancer.
At the Skin Health Institute, we are committed to providing information, advice and treatment to help everyday Australian’s take the best care of their skin. We are currently running a program called ‘Skin Checks by Dermatologists’ which allows anyone to attend the Institute for a skin check without the need for a referral. Should there be a spot of lesion of concern, you can be referred directly to our Skin Cancer Assessment Clinic.
There are also several educational resources on our website such as the Skin Health Guide and our Think UV page which can help improve your knowledge of sunburns and sunscreen. Our Spot Diagnosis Podcast also has episodes on melanoma and sun protection.
The Institute is currently a participating site for the Australian Centre of Excellence in Melanoma Imaging & Diagnosis Cohort study (ACEMID) supported by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, University of Queensland and Monash University.
The ACEMID study aims to develop more efficient and effective surveillance for the early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers using innovative Vectra 3D total body photography. For further information about the study or if you are interested in participating, please contact the Clinical Research Director, Sarah Chivers at [email protected]
National Skin Cancer Action Week plays a big role in combating tanning culture and ensuring Australians are aware of the importance of sun protection going into the summer months.
Make sure that you are protecting yourself and your skin from harmful rays this summer and every summer and understand the risks if you don’t.