Australians turn to ‘selfies’ as self-check cancer message sinks in
31 January 2018
A quarter of Australians are using selfies to digitally monitor changes to their skin, taking an estimated 100 million* potentially life-saving snapshots a year, new research has revealed.
Almost one in four (24%) have taken photographs of their skin to keep track of moles, with nearly a third of 25-34 year olds (31%) now taking them at least once a month.
The independent research1 was commissioned by skin checking app Miiskin, ahead of the launch of a campaign that will raise funds for cancer research in Australia – with $1 for each free download of the app going to charity during February2.
Following one of the country’s hottest years in history, the survey of 1,003 adults also found that 45 per cent were worried about the risk of skin cancer because of the weather. Although just one in three (34%) say they always use sun cream when exposed to the sun.
Surprisingly, despite the ban on commercial sun beds, one in seven under 35s (15%) believed it would be safer to use a tanning bed than to get a tan from the sun. One in nine under 45s (11%) admit they would rather have a month without alcohol than a month without tanning their skin.
However, with one of the world’s highest rates of skin cancer, 75% already knew it was important to check for new moles, despite one in eight (13%) thinking they only needed to monitor their skin for changes if a medical professional had advised them to.
The Miiskin app, which is free to download and created to help people track how skin and moles look, has already received 100,000 downloads globally, including 12,000 in Australia.
Jon Friis, founder and CEO of Miiskin, said:
“Awareness of the importance of skin monitoring is increasing, with many people now documenting changes to their skin’s appearance. While technology should never replace advice from a medical professional, it can help people spot significant changes occurring on their own skin. Early detection is important for successful treatment.”
Skin cancer outnumbers all other forms of cancer in Australia. Over 750,000 people a year are treated for non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia, with more than 13,000 melanoma cases. In 2015, 2,162 people died from skin cancer in Australia3.
Skin cancer is mainly caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common, with melanoma being one of the most dangerous forms.
Professor Gregor Jemec, chairman of the Department of Dermatology, Roskilde Hospital, University of Copenhagen, said:
“Very often, the best person to notice any changes in your skin is you. With high rates of malignant melanoma cases, everything that can help make people attentive to new moles or marks, and changes in old moles is therefore very welcome.”
Notes to editors:
* Figure was calculated by Miiskin using YouGov data.
About the research:
1 Independent research commissioned by Miiskin. YouGov Galaxy interviewed a nationally representative sample of adults aged 18+ across Australia between 12th January – 17th January 2018. Total sample size was 1003 adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+)
2 During February 2018, downloads of the Miiskin app will generate $1 for cancer research in Australia (for up to 10,000 new downloads). Visit www.eyesonyourskin.com for details.
3 Australian cancer statistics: https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html
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 100,000 downloads and hundreds of positive messages from users around the world.
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.