In May Melanoma Patients Australia is launching a public awareness campaign for World Melanoma Month in collaboration with The Global Melanoma Coalition. As a leading member of the coalition, we are delighted to be supporting this year’s campaign #CheckYourSkin, which highlights the scale of unidentified melanoma globally during the last two years of the COVID pandemic and urges the Australian public to get into the habit of conducting monthly skin self-examinations and to look after the ‘Future You’.
Thanks to Covid, national lockdowns and pressure on healthcare systems mean other diseases, including potentially deadly melanoma, have gone undetected and untreated. There is an urgent need to empower all Australians to know their skin, and to identify the early signs of melanoma and when to seek medical help. This is something that MPA has been advocating for Federal Government investment in as Action 3 of our Spotlight on Melanoma Campaign Five Point Plan, read it here
While we want people to be clear about the dangers of melanoma, we want the #CheckYourSkin campaign to be positive. For most people, the lifting of restrictions hopefully comes with renewed hope for what our futures may hold. This new video demonstrates how easy it can be to miss something when you are not looking for it and encourages people to check their skin each month.
MPA CEO Victoria Beedle commented that “skin cancer accounts for the largest number of cancers diagnosed in Australia each year. The campaign, therefore, encourages people to protect the ‘Future YOU’, and preserve life’s special moments, by checking their skin every month.”
Melanoma is one of the few cancers we can often see for ourselves. That means it’s in our power to catch it early – and if we do that, we stand a better chance of beating it. So, as we emerge from the Covid pandemic and consider what our ‘new normal’ looks like, let’s all make sure it includes a 10-minute monthly skin check.”
A voice-activated digital assistant ‘Skin Check’ app – Available (in English, Spanish and Italian) on Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant platform, the app guides people through what to look for, and the seven steps for conducting a full-body skin exam. The assistant finishes by offering to set a recurring monthly reminder for the exam. To use the Alexa app, it should first be enabled by saying “Alexa, enable Skin Check” to your Alexa device, then simply “Alexa, open Skin Check”. To use the Google App, just say “Hey Google, talk to Skin Check”.
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. The video is available at Skin Self-Examination Video
We want people to remember that the chances of beating melanoma are hugely increased if it is detected and treated early. But there is more that can be done. A commitment by the Federal Government to ensure early diagnosis of melanoma for all Australians, by providing funding to deliver national public awareness campaigns which promote increased awareness of skin cancer risk, the importance of regular self-skin checks, what to look for, and when and how to seek, medical help will help to save lives.