• 14:04
  • 12.11.2019
The test that could save your life
health
12.11.2019

The test that could save your life

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EXCLUSIVE

AUSTRALIANS are continuing to put their health at risk by failing to have their skin regularly checked for skin cancer.

New national research shows 71 per cent of Australians have not had a professional skin check in the last year and 39 per cent have never had a professional skin check — putting them at increased risk of dying from skin cancer.
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The TAL SpotChecker survey found that while 71 per cent of Australians listed sun safety as extremely important, 26 per cent found it somewhat important and 3 per cent not that important.

A total of 20 per cent of respondents didn’t know how often they should get their skin checked by a GP.

One in four respondents in the survey of 1000 Australians said they were too busy to get their skin checked and 15 per cent said they had not gotten it done because they didn’t want to spend the money. This is despite several services that offer bulk billing services.
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In the 18-29 year-old age bracket 54 per cent of respondents had never had their skin checked.

A new series of pop up skin check clinics will be set up by TAL, Australia’s largest life insurance company, this summer at some of the nation’s most iconic locations — 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 manager of health services Sally Phillips said Australians should get their skin checked once a year.
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“More than 2000 people per day are treated for skin cancer in Australia, that’s 750,000 per year. This number would be significantly lower if people took simple measures to protect themselves, such as committing to a regular professional skin check each year to aid in early detection,” Dr Phillips said.

“Self-checking is a great first step in early detection of skin cancer, but we advise Australians to get a professional check every year,” she said.

According to the Cancer Council Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before they’re 70.
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Almost 14,000 people are expected to be diagnosed this year according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Craig Sinclair, chair of the Cancer Council’s public health committee said not every Australian needed to get their skin checked once a year.

“The important thing is really for all of us to take responsibility and look out for spots changing in shape, colour or size and see a doctor if something looks suspicious,” Mr Sinclair said.
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“We do not recommend people have annual skin checks with their GP unless they are someone who is at particularly high risk. They might be someone with a family history of skin cancer, someone who has already had skin cancers removed or has a high number of moles on their skin or lots of freckles.

“It should really be about self-surveillance and educating yourself on what to look out for.”
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