News in brief: New ACD president; Skin checks decline by 30%; Sun protection skipped by most in winter

25 May 2021

New president at ACD

The Australasian College of Dermatologists has welcomed Dr Clare Tait as the new President.  Dr Tait  works in private practice at Dermatology Specialist Group in Perth, where she is a founding and current Director. She is the visiting dermatologist to the Kimberley area of WA and has also worked in the dermatology department at Royal Perth Hospital for 20 years.

According to the ACD, Dr Tait is passionate about working to improve access to dermatology care for all patients and communities and addressing the significant inequities in skin health outcomes.

“Under Dr Tait’s leadership, College will continue to work towards our goal of ensuring the highest standard of skin health and dermatology care is available and accessible to all patients and communities,” it said.

Dr Tait takes over the presidency from Associate Professor David Francis. The new president elect is Dr Adriene Lee, a dermatologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, the Skin Health Institute and North Western Regional Health Services, Burnie, Tasmania.

Skin checks down by 30% in pandemic

Skin checks and skin cancer diagnosis rates by Australian GPs have fallen by one third during the 2020 COVID-19  pandemic, new figures show. An analysis of electronic health records from 370 general practices and 241,468  adult patients found that the peak of any skin cancer diagnosis in the first quarter of 2020 (6.9 per 1,000 adults) was 20% lower than the prevalence observed in the same quarter in three previous years (8.6 per 1,000 adults), and remained lower in the second quarter of 2020.

A similar pattern was observed for BCC and SCC, with a greater reduction for melanoma (32%).  The study found that compared to previous years, the expected peak of screening checks at the end of summer did not occur in 2020.

There was also a 29% decrease in the rate of skin checks in the second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, which coincided with 14% fewer MBS claims for skin lesion removals than the same period the previous year.

More information: British Journal of Dermatology

Call for year-round sunscreen use

New figures showing that only a quarter of people use sun protection year-round have been described as alarming for skin cancer risk.

Data held by Cancer Council NSW showed that most people were only using sunscreen in the warner months, even though UV is high enough to cause skin cancer for at least 10 months a year in NSW.

“This is incredibly alarming because every 30 minutes in Australia someone is diagnosed with melanoma and one of us dies from the disease every five hours,” said Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, Liz King

The charity’s data also showed a significant decrease in the use of sun protection when UV levels are three and above.

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