Skin Checks and COVID-19

Guide to monthly skin self-exam image

A recent report from Cancer Australia confirms 3036 fewer surgeries for melanoma during Covid-19 pandemic 

During 2020 lockdowns, pressure on healthcare systems and people putting off a visit to the Doctor have resulted in these deeply concerning figures.

Melanoma Patients Australia CEO Victoria Beedle said; “It is critical that people across Australia stop and consider when they last checked their skin.  The Cancer Australia figures reveal that as many as 3036 people may have melanoma right now and do not know it.  We know that 16221 people were diagnosed with melanoma in 2020 and 1375 people died from the cancer – we are worried that this figures could significantly increase in 2021 if life saving skin checks are missed.”

Prof Mark Smithers AM, Melanoma Patients Australia Medical Advisor commented “We know that surgical removal of early stage melanoma is the most effective way to remove melanoma and reduce the risk of the cancer spreading. If detected early more than 90% of melanoma cases can be successfully treated with surgery.  The consequences of not catching melanoma early can be devastating and often fatal”

As we head to the end of a long, hot summer, it has never been more important for Australians to check their own skin for melanoma and other skin cancer.  It is also important to book in with a health professional for your annual professional skin check, it could just save your life.

In response to the Covid pandemic, the Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy –  the alliance of melanoma-related charitable organisations – has launched two skin self-examination tools:

  1. A voice-activated digital assistant ‘Skin Check’ app – Available on both Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant platforms, the app guides people through what to look for, and the seven steps for conducting a full-body skin exam. The assistant finished by offering to set a recurring monthly reminder for the examination. Once enabled, users can simply ask Alexa or Google: “Open Skin Check” (To activate and use the app, people should head over to AMAZON.COM)
  2. A skin self-examination video – Similar in scope to the app, the video covers the ABCD&E warning signs of melanoma, and the seven steps for checking the body. Pauses between the seven steps have been included in the film, so that the viewer can simply take their phone or tablet into a bathroom, hit play, and follow the instructions in real time.

Click here for self examination video

In the fight against melanoma skin cancer, early detection and treatment is critical. Both the voice-activated app and the video are free to use, so we encourage everybody to find just 10 minutes each month and make conducting a skin self-examination part of their regular routine.

Visit here to download the Cancer Australia report

Visit here to join the #Melanoma Movement and learn more about how to spot the signs of skin cancer