A quarter (25%) of Australians have claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented them from getting a skin consultation this year, according to life insurer TAL's 2021 Australian Skin Safety Report.
The insurer also found that one in four (24%) Australians said the COVID-19 pandemic distracted them from regularly self-checking their skin.
Dr Priya Chagan, general manager of health services at TAL, said many Australians have delayed getting relevant professional skin checks and are putting themselves at risk of skin cancer going undetected since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“The 2021 research found 29% of Australians have never had a professional skin check, and only 36% have had one in the last 12 months, while a further 19% of Australians admitted they never self-check for signs of skin cancer,” Chagan said.
The skin safety report is a part of TAL's SpotChecker program, a national initiative that shines a light on Australians' attitude and approaches to preventive health and skin safety. It aims to reduce the impact of skin cancer by encouraging Australians to have regular skin checks with a qualified professional and regular self-check at home.
As part of the initiative, TAL has enhanced its online TAL SpotChecker information hub, an educational resource that encourages and empowers Australians to engage with their skin health and embrace skin safety.
“Now in its sixth year, the annual TAL SpotChecker program and the 2021 edition of the TAL SpotChecker Skin Safety Report focus on driving continued awareness and providing information around skin safety,” said TAL chief customer and brand officer Alex Homer.
However, Chagan said there is still a long way to go in raising awareness of the importance of preventing and detecting skin cancer.
She added: “After a challenging year, once again characterised by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and as the nation continues to face concerningly high rates of skin cancer – with 2 in 3 Australians set to be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the age of 70 – it is crucial that Australians prioritise their health and understand the importance of prevention in living a healthy life.”
Aside from continuing the SpotChecker program, TAL also joined other life insurers in backing the COVID-19 vaccination program in the country.
In support of the program, TAL, AIA Australia, ClearView, MetLife, MLC Life Insurance, Resolution Life, and Zurich created “We Have You Covered,” a joint initiative designed to reassure and give confidence to vaccinated Australians that their life insurance products will continue to protect and covered them like always.