Burn notice

Posted on December 06, 2018

Burn Notice

Written by Jacqui Archer

We love our sunburnt country. Unfortunately our skin does not.

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world. Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70 and more than 750 000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancer every year.

Sun damage is permanent, irreversible and increases with exposure. Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian women, the fourth most common cancer in men, and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years. Not such a hot topic, but these are the facts.

There are three main forms of skin cancer:

  1. Basal cell carcinoma
  2. Melanoma 
  3. Squamous cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are identified as non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous and can be fatal.

Non-melanoma cases are more prevalent in men and outdoor workers are more at risk. With less than 30 percent of employees likely to have routine check-ups or screenings, more and more employers are recognising the importance of taking a pro-active approach to the wellbeing of their workforce. Companies are ideally positioned to influence the health of their workers by delivering programs as early intervention measures and currently, as we approach the long, hot summer months, skin cancer screening is at the top of the list.

Many staff members are not inclined to monitor skin changes outside of work, all too often spots are ignored by individuals and in fact, many rarely know what to look for.  By providing a convenient way to have checks carried out through the workplace, problematic signs can be identified and managed early. And, experienced first- hand by Health@Work, skin checks can save lives!

It also pays off. Skin cancer in the workplace leads to reduced productivity and financial returns and increases the rate of absenteeism. It also goes a long way in boosting the morale and performance of employees as workers feel a sense of security when provided with the opportunity to participate in annual skin cancer checks as part of their health and wellbeing program.

Additionally and highly recommended, is the vital importance of on-going education. Vigilance is the key. Health@Work provide Awareness Packs containing booklets and information necessary for self-care following a skin check procedure. These packs can be delivered to participants of a program to reinforce the message. They are also highly effective in reaching employees who for a number of reasons, particularly remote locations, are unable to take part in a skin check initiative.

We all love our sunburnt country but presently we are drowning in a sea of skin cancer, easily prevented. Regular screening and education is the way forward.

For more information on screening programs and education tools, please call Health@Work on 1300 245 203 or enquire through our website healthatwork.net.au

Ref: Sunsmart, Cancer Council of Australia