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20th September 2023 Skin Cancer

Free skin cancer checks at Yorke Peninsula Field Days

Skin cancer

Visitors to next week’s Yorke Peninsula Field Days can get a free skin cancer check at a special pop-up clinic aimed at improving access to skin cancer checks in country areas.

The free checks are being delivered through a partnership between The Hospital Research Foundation Group, Skin Check Champions and the University of South Australia.

The potentially lifesaving clinic, led by nurses, aims to improve early detection of skin cancers in regional areas where skin cancer rates are up to 31 per cent higher than in metropolitan areas.

UniSA Professor in Cancer Nursing, Marion Eckert, said access to skin cancer checks was difficult in country areas, so the system needs to be creative in terms of how it utilises our health workforce in the regions.

“More than 98 per cent of skin cancers can be successfully treated if they’re found early, which is why getting checked is so important,” Prof Eckert said.

“The people being targeted in this project are over the age of 50 who live regionally and rurally. This is because 80 per cent of melanomas occur in this age group, as do most non-melanoma skin cancers.

“Skin cancer is so common that two out of three people will have some form of skin cancer by the time they reach 70 years old. Melanoma is the third most-diagnosed cancer in Australia and kills four Australians every day.”

Prof Eckert said the clinic would use new technologies in AI (artificial intelligence) to scan and assess people’s lesions.

Nurses are being trained to undertake the skin checks which includes taking high quality images of lesions to be assessed by the AI.

Importantly, the images are triaged and conditionally-diagnosed to see if they are cancerous. If suspicious lesions are found, the nurse will provide information the person can take to their own GP for follow-up, or they can be referred to local GPs in the region.

To get your free check, find the Skin Check Champions tent at the Yorke Peninsula Field Days from 26-28 September.

The Hospital Research Foundation Group provided a $125,000 grant to ensure the clinic can operate at community events across South Australia.