Don’t just slip, slop, slap – remember to SCAN
Most Australians know the importance of “slip, slop, slap”, but few have bothered to have a proper skin check, says Dr Sally Philips of TAL.
Many Australians fall into the trap of thinking that “slip, slop, slap” – a good preventative healthcare measure – is the be-all and end-all sun protection method. But in reality, using sunscreen is only half the battle – and many people don’t apply it enough.
“Often the sunscreen is only lasting 20 minutes or 30 minutes,” Dr Philips told The Wellness Daily Show.
“And if you go in the sea and you come out and you might not remember to put it on again. And also we’re not putting on sunscreen all the time. And if cloudy day and we’re out again, we’ve got very high UVA, UVB rays. So, there’s the two sides to it.”
Dr Phillips recommended that, in addition to using sun protection, people should be getting more regular skin checks. Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, but over 87 per cent of Australians have not had skin checks in the last 12 months, according to TAL’s SpotChecker stats.
Dr Philips also recommended that people self-check for new moles when possible, using the SCAN system – that is sore, changing, abnormal or new – and paying especially close attention to the back, as it’s not an area of the body that can be easily seen in the mirror.
“Become aware of your skin and become aware of all the moles and dots and spots on it,” Dr Philips said.
“And if anything’s changing and you’re sort of just feeling a little bit wary about anything, then go to a skin doctor, a GP, or to any skin specialists and just get it checked out.”
TAL also runs SpotChecker, which provides more detail on how to do self-checks and helps book a skin check with a GP in your area. TAL is also running free skin checks in cities around Australia.
“If you’re picking it up at an early stage, it’s probably close to curable,” Dr Philips said.
“So we know that if you’re picking up melanoma in sort of a stage one or an early stage, there’s almost a 98 per cent five-year survival period… so for a 15-minute skin check, you’re saving your life.”
To listen to the full conversation with Dr Sally Phillips, click below:
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