Latest figures reveal more people in Britain are losing their lives to skin cancer than in Australia – with Brits being encouraged to pay more attention to changes in their own skin.
Despite Australia having one of the world’s highest rates of skin cancer cases, official figures show 26,807 deaths recorded in Britain over a decade, versus 19,839 in Australia. The disease is escalating in the UK, with latest figures showing a 14 per cent annual increase in fatalities , while deaths in Australia declined.
As part of a charity partnership with the British Skin Foundation, independent surveys commissioned by skin tracking app Miiskin in Britian and Australia revealed less people in Britain regularly check for changes in the appearance or number of moles on their skin. Self-check ‘selfies’ have also become popular in Australia, with almost one in four (24%) adults taking photographs to digitally document changes to moles on their skin, compared to one in nine (11%) in Britain.
Jon Friis, founder of Miiskin which has attracted 250,000 downloads globally, said: “The importance of self-examining your skin is more commonplace in some countries than others and many in Britain are unaware that they should regularly look out for changes. Spotting warning signs early can be vital, and a routine of self-examination can help – particularly for those with an increased risk of developing skin cancer, due to their complexion, over-exposure to the sun or use of UV tanning beds.”
Dr Anton Alexandroff, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said: “It’s important that people monitor their own skin regularly, to help track changes. Any changes to an existing mole can be a concern, but in particular look out for growing size, changing shape, developing new colours, bleeding, painful, crusting, red around the edges or itching. Adults should also look out for any new moles or marks on their skin. If any changes are noticed, people should visit their GP or dermatologist for a medical assessment.”
There are now more than 140,000 new skin cancer cases diagnosed and 3,000 deaths from the disease every year1 in Britain. In Australia, annual deaths have fallen to 1,9602 despite more than 750,000 people being treated for non-melanoma skin cancers each year and around 13,000 diagnosed with Melanoma which is one of the most dangerous forms.
The British Skin Foundation is working with Miiskin to raise awareness of the importance of self-examination. Miiskin’s app was created to help people digitally track how skin and moles look, with reminders to routinely check for changes and information about the types of things to look for. In addition, the app assists the user in comparing photographs over time by allowing side-by-side image comparisons – helping people to identify differences between photos, such as the appearance of a new mole or a change to an existing one. It does not try to diagnose skin cancer or tell users that they are at risk or not. People who spot changes should seek advice from their GP or another medical professional.
Jon Friis added: “I know from personal experience helping my wife monitor moles on her back that it can be challenging, but our smartphone culture is making it easier to capture snapshots, track changes and – if needed – seek medical assessment at an early stage.”
Miiskin was founded in Denmark by Jon Friis, who needed a better way to track the moles on his partner Rikke’s back to check for signs of Melanoma. When Jon was told by the doctor that current best practice was using pen and paper, he couldn’t help thinking that technology could simplify and improve this process.
The Miiskin app has already received 250,000 downloads and hundreds of positive messages from users around the world. There have been 36,000 downloads in the UK.
Crucially, the app does not try to diagnose skin cancer or tell users that they are at risk or not. The detection of skin cancer is complex and should only be undertaken by qualified doctors – not apps. Miiskin helps you keep a regular eye on your skin, so you can seek medical help if you spot concerning changes.