SKIN cancer awareness video aimed at older men has proved more effective than written information in prompting them to visit their GP, a study shows.
RESEARCHERS from the Queensland University of Technology taught 900 Queensland men, aged around 50 years, how to check for skin cancers, with half given a DVD and the others receiving only written information.
Overall, 69 skin cancers were diagnosed through clinical skin examinations during the seven-month study period, with a higher proportion detected among the group receiving the video intervention.
“We found that the men receiving the video intervention once they visited a doctor were more likely to receive a whole-body skin check than those receiving only written information,” said lead researcher Associate Professor Monika Janda.
“This is a great result because men in that age group are known to be less likely to have those checks.”
The video, featuring Australian cricketer Ian Healy, guides men through the self-examination process and urges them to ask their doctor for a clinical skin examination.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said “any measure that can be taken to help older men detect skin cancer early, and to encourage them to see a doctor, and beat the disease, the better”.
Every year, in Australia skin cancers account for around 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers.
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
Between 95 per cent and 99 per cent of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun.
Meanwhile, research has shown Australians are less likely to use sunscreen in winter, spring and autumn, says Australian Medical Association (AMA) NSW’s president Dr Saxon Smith.
“People in Australia should be wearing sunscreen every day, not just when they’re planning to go to the beach or bushwalking or an outdoor event,” Dr Smith said.
Australia’s incidence of skin cancer is one of the highest in the world – two to three times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK.
“The good news is that the main controllable cause of all forms of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation and that’s something we can prevent through wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and tightly-woven clothing,” Dr Smith said.