TAL SpotChecker launches for the third year to bridge skin cancer awareness and action gap

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TAL has launched its annual skin-check program last weekend at Bondi Beach.

TAL, a leading Australian life insurance specialist, launched its annual skin-check program, TAL SpotChecker, last weekend at Bondi Beach.

Through TAL SpotChecker, TAL aims to get more people talking about the importance of skin checks in order to bridge the gap on both awareness and action and help save more lives. TAL SpotChecker will provide TAL customers and the general public with free skin checks from specialist skin cancer doctors this summer. TAL has also partnered with Firstcheck this year – an app that enables people to get a skin check through their smartphone – to deliver more skin checks across Australia.

New research from TAL has revealed that nearly half of Australians (45%) are unaware of the high incidence of skin cancer in Australia, leading to millions not getting regular skin checks.

Despite the fact that two in three Australians are expected to be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer during their lifetime[1], only 36% of people have had a check within the past 12 months with 29% never having had a skin check at all.

The findings spark an important conversation around Australians’ engagement with skin safety in the face of worryingly high incidence rates of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one of Australia’s most common cancers, but it is also one of the most easily detectable and preventable. With 82% of people surveyed saying they would be more likely to get a skin check if they were encouraged by a friend or family member, TAL is calling on the one in three Australians who have had a skin check in the last year to encourage two of their friends to do the same this summer.

TAL General Manager, Health Services, Dr Sally Phillips said, “Skin cancer is a bigger issue than many Australians realise. Our research found that a large proportion of Australians know that skin cancer is easily treated if diagnosed early, yet most people have not had a skin check in the last year. Early detection can literally save a life, so the TAL SpotChecker movement is calling on those who’ve had a check in the last year to tell two friends to do the same, in order to reach all of Australia.

“While alarming, these statistics also show we are making progress – at the beginning of last summer, 39% of people had never had a skin check, with that number down to 29% this year. The number of people who had a check in the last year has also risen from 29% to 36% in that time.”

The research also showed that nearly 9 in 10 Australians surveyed (88%) know they should check every square inch of their skin for signs of skin cancer, but 72% admit they do not know the four key signs to look for when examining their skin, leading to 29% preferring to get a skin check rather than self-checking.

“There is a clear need to educate people around the signs to watch out for and the importance of regular skin checks because early detection is crucial to reducing the impact of skin cancer,” Dr Phillips said.

TAL SpotChecker is a part of TAL’s broader health focus, which seeks to empower all Australians to take a proactive approach to their health and wellbeing. Alongside the pop-up clinics, TAL SpotChecker will provide resources to help everyone understand the importance of regular skin checks and how to self-check.

“Last year, TAL SpotChecker provided 1,330 people with professional skin checks across Australia and more than half of those had never had a skin check before. It’s great to see awareness is growing and more people have had a skin check in the last year than in 2016 but there is more to do. This year, we look forward to continuing to encourage important conversations around early detection and educating people on how they should self-check as well as get regular skin checks,” said Dr Phillips.

Building on the success from last summer, TAL SpotChecker launched at Bondi Beach for the first weekend of summer (1-2 December 2018), before heading to Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast (8-9 December 2018), and then across to Cottesloe Beach in Perth (12-13 January 2019), followed by Harold and Cynthia Anderson Reserve in Adelaide (19-20 January 2019) and St Kilda Beach in Melbourne (26-27 January 2019).

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[1] https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html

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