Outdoor Workers at Double the Risk of Skin Cancer

Outdoor Workers at Double the Risk of Skin Cancer

Alarming new statistics show outdoor workers are at more than double risk of skin cancer. Statistics on the incidence of Skin Cancer among outdoor workers disclose the high risk associated with occupational sun exposure. Skin Patrol, a mobile skin cancer practice, has released a new report that highlights the need for better education among high risk, outdoor workers.

Since 2004, Skin Patrol has completed over 40,000 skin checks on outdoor workers in Australia. A random sample of over 1,000 outdoor workers in 2009 showed:


  • 2.5 times the national reported incidence of malignant melanoma.
  • One in 10 patients had a lesion highly suspicious of skin cancer.
  • 26% of patients were diagnosed with moderate to severe sun damage.
  • 70% of patients diagnosed with a lesion suspicious of skin cancer were aged 40 years or greater.
  • Over 90% of workers who attended the Skin Patrol clinic because they were worried about a particular spot or the condition of their skin had not had their skin checked in the past 12 months prior to the onsite clinic.Skin Patrol’s national program director, Skye Lovell said: “Skin Patrol has conducted over 40,000 workplace skin checks in the last five years. The data shows that outdoor workers are at a highly increased risk of skin cancer. Workers need to be better educated on how to self check for skin cancer, it’s never too late to start and early detection really does save lives.”

    In addition to onsite skin clinics, Skin Patrol provides workplaces with posters and individual fact sheets that offer simple, easy to follow self checking guides for outdoor workers. Lovell says: “Most people have a digital camera and it’s a great tool for comparing spots every few months. Everyone who works outdoors should have an annual skin check but it pays to know your own skin and keep an eye out for new or changing spots. When you realise your own level of sun damage you will become more SunSafe.”


Fortunately for Kim Addis an under manager from Anglo Coal, Skin Patrol was able to detect his melanoma early. “I am so thankful that my workplace arranged an onsite skin clinic. I was diagnosed with a level three melanoma in May 2009. The lesion has been removed but if it had been left another six months my prognosis would have been a very different story. I urge all managers of outdoor workers to arrange skin checks for staff.”

Skin Patrol’s diagnosing dermatologist, Dr Martin Haskett says: “I diagnose skin cancers on outdoor workers almost every day and am certain that workplace skin checks and education save lives. The message about self skin checks and workplace sun protection needs to be vigorously reinforced for all outdoor workers and their employers.” Whether you are a miner, a builder, a truck driver, a landscape gardener, a personal trainer or even a farmer, if you work outside you need to be twice as diligent with your skin. It’s great to slip, slop, slap, but that’s not enough. Regular skin checks are crucial and could save your life.

Skin Patrol operates a national, mobile skin check and skin cancer education clinic. It is the first company in the world to use a tele-dermatology model that allows patients the expertise of a GP skin check and dermatologist diagnosis. Dr Haskett believes: “Early (unexpected) detection of skin cancer and one-on-one education facilitates behavioural change among high risk patients. The Skin Patrol model offers this to patients in very remote locations, and on the world wide stage this is quite exceptional.”

Free self checking guides are available at www.skinpatrol.com.au .