World-First Skin Cancer Study

A world-first research project is set to be carried out in Queensland, with Energex and the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation recently joining forces in the fight against skin cancer.

It is hoped that the announced project will assist in the early detection of skin cancer and provide further insight into preventing the deadly disease.

Highest rate of skin cancer in the world

Skin cancer currently accounts for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers each year in Australia. Queenslanders also have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with the incidence of skin cancer in Queensland being more than four times that of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Skin cancer is a disease of the skin cells, which occurs when skin cells are damaged. The type of skin damage which can cause skin cancer is usually overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Main types of skin cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer:-

  • Melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer;
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma;
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Unfortunately, melanoma is the most common form of cancer diagnoses in people aged 15-44 years of age and, each year, around 1,600 Australians lose their lives to melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. A diagnosis of melanoma, and any associated treatment, may mean that you need to take time off work, or may not be able to return to work at all. In such circumstances, you may be able to access superannuation benefits through your superannuation fund.

Skin cancer study

The world-first Queensland skin cancer study will involve Energex field staff photographing sections of their skin each day with their smart phones. The photographs will then be uploaded to a team of dermatologists, within the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation, who will then analyse the images for changes over time.

In addition to identifying skin changes, the research will also examine how changes in clothing, geography and employment affect the incidence of skin lesions. Alongside this research, Energex has also undertaken to conduct regular internal sun safety education programs to ensure its employees are aware of how to be sun smart.

The study being conducted by Energex and the Princess Alexandra Research foundation is hoped to provide groundbreaking research, which will greatly assist in reducing the incidence of our most prevalent form of cancer in Queensland and across Australia.

Ways to protect your skin

While it may be some time before we receive further information about the research being undertaken by Energex and the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation, there are many ways you can protect your skin from the causes of skin cancer, particularly in the lead up to summer:-

  • Slip on sun protective clothing;
  • Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen (being sure to reapply every two hours);
  • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat;
  • Seek shade (taking extra care between 10:00am and 3:00pm, when ultraviolet levels reach their peak); and
  • Slide on sunglasses.

If you, or a loved one, are suffering from a serious form of melanoma and wish to obtain information about the possibility of accessing superannuation benefits such as Income Protection, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) or Terminal Illness Cover, contact one of our friendly staff on our toll-free number: 1800 683 928.