Call to logistics industry to introduce skin cancer checks

Health At Work founder on mission to raise corporate awareness and increase testing

Call to logistics industry to introduce skin cancer checks
Skin screening can be crucial


Health services firm Health At Work (HAW) is urging transport and logistics (T&L) companies to put in place skin cancer protection strategies.

The firm points out that, despite huge amounts of information on the dangers of skin cancer over the last few decades, Australia remains a global skin cancer hot spot, with mortality rates continue to rise.

It points to a 2020 academic report, ‘Early detection of melanoma: a consensus report from the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre Melanoma Screening Summit’, that highlights "more than 1,700 Australians die from melanoma each year, with mortality rates continuing to rise, increasing from 4.7 per 100,000 in 2004 to 5.6 per 100,000 in 2019".

The report reinforces long-term health experts advice that early detection is key to preventing its proliferation.

"Yet clearly not enough is being done to reverse the numbers," HAW says.

Read about a QTA-led skin checks effort at the Port of Brisbane, here

Given many workers do not regularly get skin checks after hours, workplace health expert and HAW founder Kristina Billings advises businesses, especially those with staff who often working outside, are in a position to set up skin testing at work, "in the same way that many organise flu injections".

As the most common cancer affecting working age Australians between 15 and 39 years old, "when you consider the amount of Australians, affected by this each year, the workplace really is the best place to start", Billings says.

HAW uses the experience of a former employee of food distribution company Monde Nissin as one example of how workplace skin checks can be ultimately life saving.

In 2019, the company organised for a workplace health program to visit the site and conduct skin checks, with melanoma identified early and cut out. 

"When it comes to health, Australians are unfortunately somewhat nonchalant by nature," Billings says.

"So, telling the public to go and get their yearly skin check through plain, repetitive marketing is not effective. It has become white noise.

"Conversely, the workplace can be a convenient place for employers to role model to their staff the importance of protecting yourself against sun dangers." 

HAW says that, in 2019, it conducted 3,440 skin checks, detecting over 800 suspicious moles, lesions, sunspots and cancers. Of those, 133 (17%) turned out to be melanomas.

"This year, I’m calling on Australian CEOs and HR professionals to join our fight in saving lives – take the lead by implementing skin check programs," Billings says.

"I want Australian workers to feel like getting their skin checked is no skin off their nose." 

The academic report on melanoma can be found here.


Skin screening can be crucial

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