Forces joined to help prevent skin cancers

A WORLD-FIRST research project to be carried out in Queensland promises to improve the early detections of skin cancers, save lives and offer fresh insights into preventing the disease.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle said Energex and the Princess Alexandra Research Foundation had joined forces in the fight against skin cancer with a new research partnership.

Energex will provide $110,000 in funding to the PA Research Foundation to conduct a pilot trial of skin examinations via mobile phone images.

"Each year about 1600 Australians lose their lives to melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers," Mr McArdle said.

"Research into how we can bring these numbers down is vitally important to all Queenslanders."

Energex field staff involved in the pilot program will use their smart phones to photograph sections of their skin every day.

They will then upload the pictures to the team of PA Research Foundation dermatologists who will analyse the images for any changes over time.

If dermatologists identify changes the staff member will be immediately referred to their doctor.

The research will also examine how changes in clothing, geography and employment affect the incidence of skin lesions.

Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, more than four times that of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Mr McArdle said the research would benefit Energex staff, as well as people across Australia.

PA Research Foundation CEO Damian Topp praised Energex for its support and involvement in the program and said its support could help save lives in the future.

"Early diagnosis is the key to reducing skin cancer and this project will enable advanced detection to discover potential cancers early and save lives," Mr Topp said.

Energex CEO Terry Effeney said Energex was committed to the safety of its staff and alongside this research Energex would also conduct sun safety education programs to ensure its employees know being sun smart is about more than slip, slop, slap.

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