Along with isolation, many Australians have chosen to forego their regular medical check-ups, and this has extended to skin cancer checks.
According to Australian doctors, skin cancer checks are down as much as 50 per cent, causing great concern for the health of thousands of Australians.
“My worry is that people have been staying away from doctors during COVID-19 isolation,” says leading skin cancer expert, Doctor Richard Hamilton. “Not only have they not been undertaking regular skin checks, they haven’t been seeing their doctor about potential skin cancer or pre-cancer issues. The more people hibernate at home, the more they assume that they are somehow immune from developing a skin cancer like malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). A lot of people think that you can only get melanoma and other skin cancers if you spend a lot of time outside.”
With beauty salons re-opening this week, doctors are hoping that beauty workers will encourage their customers to get their skin checked with a medical practitioner, particularly if they notice anything of concern during a treatment.
“People not getting tested for skin cancer is dangerous because melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer is best treated early,” says Doctor Hamilton. “Left unchecked, melanoma can spread and be life-threatening in as little as possibly six weeks. If you do have melanoma, you want to find out as quickly as possible.”
Cancer Australia estimates that there will be 15,691 new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2020 alone. Men will account for far more melanoma cases, with 9,166 male cases and 6,525 female cases.
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