According to a recent study conducted by Chemmart Pharmacy, nearly 40 per cent of 7,000 people surveyed, rarely or never check their own skin for moles or spots of concern. Of those that do, more than 40 per cent currently have a mole or spot that they are worried about.
These alarming figures come as Chemmart today announces a revolutionary new skin cancer screening service available at all Chemmart Pharmacies nationally, which allows an individual to get up to three spots of concern checked by experts without an appointment.
Skin cancers account for around 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers. The incidence of skin cancer in Australia is one of the highest in the world with two in three Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
Chemmart Executive Director Jonathan Layton said Chemmart hopes that increasing the accessibility of mole or spot screening checks will help to raise awareness of skin cancer and encourage Australians to get their spots checked early.
'Our research shows that nearly 90 per cent of respondents would be more likely to get their spots checked if it was possible to do so at a local pharmacy by a qualified skin cancer assessor," he said.
'We are extremely proud of this service and see it as a way of potentially reducing the number of deaths from skin cancer by improving early detection, plus expediting the process of referrals for further treatment."
Spotcheck enables people to have their moles or skin spots photographed in a Chemmart pharmacy by trained staff and be sent away for analysis by doctors who are experts in skin cancer medicine. The results are then provided to the customer within 48 hours.
The equipment used is the German designed handyscope which is considered a revolution in dermoscopy. The handyscope converts an iPhone or iPod Touch into a digital dermatoscope and allows for pictures of up to 20X magnification. These can then be saved in a password protected, secure App.
If any spots of concern are discovered, the customer is personally contacted by the doctor and advised to see their GP for further treatment. The customer can then take their report directly to their GP or specialist.
The initiative was founded by doctors who are experts in skin cancer medicine, Dr Tony Dicker MBBS PhD and Dr Gary Pellizzari MBBS FRACGP Dip RACOG. Dr Dicker said he's excited to launch Spotcheck in Chemmart Pharmacies as he believes it will help ensure more people get their skin spots checked regularly and before it's too late.
'Too often I diagnose patients with advanced melanoma, who have delayed getting their spots checked" he said.
'Most Australians are aware of the risks of skin cancer, and I believe that by making skin checks more accessible, we will help to save lives because it will enable us to identify those at risk early on."
Many groups have also come out in support of the service, particularly those representing members that spend most of their time outdoors.
Graham Ross, Horticulturalist, The Garden Clinic, TV Presenter, and LNA Master Landscapers Association Ambassador, along with his Horticulturalist daughter Linda, are both extremely passionate about all gardeners, professionals and hobbyists, being diligent about checking their skin and getting the experts to look at it if they are concerned.
'Our love of gardening naturally means we are outdoors a lot and therefore highly susceptible to all forms of skin cancer," Mr Ross said.
'Being able to walk into a pharmacy without an appointment to get those niggling, concerning spots checked, will not only provide peace of mind but may also save a life."
Jacob Waks, President of the Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, said he was really excited to be involved with the Spotcheck initiative as Lifesavers understand the dangers of not regularly checking for skin damage.
"People often think that the dangers at the beach are the waves and rips, they forget the sun," he said.
'This is a great initiative and we are happy to be part of it."
Mr Layton explained that the results of a trial run in Western Australia earlier this year were significant.
'During the trial, 436 spots were checked from 320 patients. Of these, one in eight patients required a referral for further treatment," he said.
'These results, along with the positive customer feedback, tell us this is a service that can really make a difference to the lives of Australians."
The service requires no appointment and only takes a few minutes. It provides assessment of one to three moles or skin spots starting at $35. If the customer has more than three spots of concern, they will be recommended to see their GP or a skin cancer clinic.
To find out more and locate your nearest Chemmart Pharmacy please visit www.chemmart.com.au/spotcheck