This week is National Skin Cancer Action Week and it’s a good time to think about when you were last checked.
Skin cancer screening is something we don’t always remember to get around to, but for those living in the north of Australia in particular, it’s essential to regularly have your skin checked for suspicious lesions.
Recent skin cancer screening in the Pilbara region of WA revealed higher than average referral rates, highlighting the importance of prevention and early detection for those living in the hottest parts of the country.
The RFDS has established skin cancer screening in the Pilbara and WA Goldfields as part of the BHP Billiton sponsored ‘RFDS on the road’ program. The screenings are conducted in partnership with the Lions Cancer Institute and this year consulted 2370 people throughout the Pilbara region.
While these types of screenings usually lead to a referral rate of 5-10 per cent for suspicious lesions requiring further investigation, the average referral rate for Pilbara communities visited this year was 24 per cent.
Weather conditions, long term sun damage and limited access to local screening services were thought to be the potential causes of this trend.
But while the referral rates were high, it’s not all bad news. The program is leading the way in providing prevention education and early detection for residents in some of the hottest parts of WA. With 95 per cent of melanoma being curable if detected and treated early, screening programs such as this are essential to ensuring people get the treatment they need as soon as possible.
While everyone needs to ensure they have their skin checked regularly, those living in the north of the state are encouraged to be especially vigilant in looking after their skin.
For more information on ‘RFDS on the road’, go here
For more information on National Skin Cancer Action Week, go here