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Most Australians aren’t taking their own advice about skin

New research reveals majority of Australians aren’t taking their own advice about skin safety, leaving millions at risk of cancer.

New research from TAL, a leading Australian life insurance specialist, has revealed that more than half (56 per cent) of Australians consider themselves sun-smart, yet 87 per cent have not had a skin check in the past 12 months, with 28 per cent never having had one at all.

Skin cancer is one of Australia’s most common cancers, with two in three Australians set to be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 and almost eight in 10 (77 per cent) admitting they could do more to protect themselves from the sun when outdoors.

The research also reveals that, as a nation, Australians are not taking their own advice when it comes to skin safety, leaving millions at risk of skin cancer as a result of not getting regular skin checks.

Despite 41 per cent of Australians surveyed saying they would always urge their children to wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors, only 19 per cent take their own advice and regularly wear sunscreen themselves. In addition to being more sun safe and taking preventative measures, such as wearing sunscreen, it is just as important for people to engage with regular skin checks to help detect skin cancer.

According to TAL General Manager of Health Services, Dr Sally Phillips, the belief that skin cancer only happens to others is a main barrier to Australians taking preventative action.

“As one of the most easily detectable and preventable cancers, it’s so important that professional skin checks and self-checking become an integral part of everyone’s health routine.

To encourage more Australians to get regular skin checks and educate them around the importance of skin safety, TAL is launching TAL SpotChecker for the fourth year in a row, providing free skin checks at some of Australia’s most iconic beaches over the summer.

“It’s clear from our research that although Australians have a natural tendency to be looking out for our loved ones when it comes to engaging in skin safety, this is not the case when it comes to our own skin cancer prevention. The research found that a lack of time is a contributing factor to not getting checked. Through TAL SpotChecker we’re aiming to encourage Australians to take a more proactive approach to their own preventative health and understand the need to put their own health first” Dr Phillips said.

In addition to the pop-up skin check clinics, TAL has created a hub of online resources to help Australians find a local GP where they can book a skin check, as well as learn more about skin cancer and how to self-check using the FirstCheck app on their smartphone. FirstCheck enables people to get their skin concerns checked by a doctor – anytime, anywhere.

“With TAL research revealing that one in five Australians (22 per cent) aren’t self-checking their skin for signs of skin cancer, the importance of regular skin checks given the high incidence of skin cancer in Australia is a message that may not be getting through to us. Eighty-eight per cent of Australians are unaware that two in three of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer in our lifetime, Dr Phillips said.

“We’re making steady progress with educating people around self-checking. At the beginning of last summer, 72 per cent of Australians said they didn’t know the four signs to look out for when examining their skin for skin cancer – a number that now sits at 64 per cent.

“While this number is improving, there’s still a lot of work to do in raising awareness about the importance of regular skin checks in detecting and preventing skin cancer. Australians need to be more vigilant than ever with their check-ups. Each of us needs to put ourselves first and look after our skin. Through TAL SpotChecker, we’re hoping to continue educating more Australians and ultimately help save more lives.”

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