With the local farming community in the thick of harvest and the warm summer months fast approaching, Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton has thrown his support behind a campaign to raise awareness of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Mr Coulton was today joined by former Australian test cricketer and now farmer, Peter Taylor of Gurley near Moree, to highlight the importance of getting a skin check.
“Skin cancer is often referred to as Australia’s ‘National Cancer’, with Australia’s rates estimated to be the highest in the world,” Mr Coulton said.
“With many farming communities right across the Parkes electorate busy with harvest and often working long hours in the sun, it’s a timely reminder for us all to get our skin checked.
“Having been a farmer myself, I know the days can be long and it’s easy to forget about things like skin protection.
“I urge everyone in the Parkes electorate, and in our farming communities around Australia, to get their skin checked and remind friends and family to do the same.”
Mr Taylor, who has been a farmer for the last 30 years, has shared his story about dealing with non-melanoma skin cancer and his misperceptions of the potentially deadly cancer in the new awareness campaign.
“I’ve had non-melanoma skin cancers cut out, and I’ve had them burnt off, and I didn’t know that it could be life threatening,” Mr Taylor said.
“I thought melanoma was the big one, and that was really all I knew about it. But it turns out non-melanoma skin cancer can be just as fatal. We are appealing to farmers to do the right thing – cover up and get your skin checked regularly.
“During heavy work periods like harvest season, farmers are out in the sun a lot – sometimes all day.
“The problem with non-melanoma skin cancer is that we don’t know what we’re looking at. They are hidden, they’re hidden in broad daylight. To all farmers like me please do the right thing – go to a skin specialist, get yourself checked. It’s essential we do this regularly.”
To find out more visit www.skincancerunseen.com.au
About non melanoma skin cancer
- Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – commonly referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers – account for 97% of all skin cancers per year in Australia – equivalent to 570,000 cases every year.
- It is estimated that 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer by the age of 70.
- While most non-melanoma skin cancers are not life threatening, up to four Australians may lose their life to advanced non-melanoma skin cancer every day.1
- 95% of skin cancers are caused by UV exposure.
- The campaign comes in response to a new report entitled The Burden of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer, which has revealed that up to 1,700 Australians are estimated to die from advanced non-melanoma skin cancer this year.