Safeguard Your Employees: Workplace Prevention Strategies For All Skin Cancer Types
No matter the type of business or corporation you’re looking after as an HR manager, prioritising sun-smart practices within your workplace is crucial. Australia’s climate, known for its harsh UV rays, elevates the risk of skin cancer even for office-based employees.
Yet despite this risk, it’s common to witness employees neglecting sun safety guidelines. Often, this happens because they perceive skin cancer as a straightforward issue. In reality, it’s a more complex matter with distinct skin cancer types: melanoma and non-melanoma, each having its own characteristics, symptoms, and prevalence.
As such, this resource aims to simplify the intricacies of skin cancer types, equipping you to educate and safeguard your team effectively. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a clear understanding of skin cancer’s multifaceted nature, enabling you to take proactive measures and instil essential sun-smart practices in your workplace.
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer BCC
Basal Cell Carcinoma, also known as BCC, is the most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer. It typically starts in the basal cells of the skin’s outermost layer and tends to grow slowly. While it is less aggressive than melanoma, it still necessitates vigilance. Australia sees approximately 780,000 cases of diagnosed BCC each year, underlining the importance of awareness and prevention.
BCC often presents itself as a pearly or waxy bump, accompanied by visible blood vessels. These growths may bleed or ooze and may heal and return, making early detection critical. Prolonged sun exposure, particularly in regions with elevated UV radiation, is a key risk factor for the development of BCC. Individuals with fair skin, freckles, or light hair are more susceptible, as are those with a history of skin cancer.
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer SCC
Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or SCC, is the second most common type of non-melanoma skin cancer. It originates in the squamous cells, which are found in the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer. SCC is more aggressive than BCC and necessitates prompt attention. Over 250,000 cases of SCC are identified annually in Australia, highlighting the urgency of understanding this skin cancer type.
SCC typically appears as a reddish, scaly, or crusty patch on the skin, sometimes with an elevated growth. It may bleed easily and may develop into an open sore that does not heal.
Risk Factors are similar to BCC, although prolonged sun exposure in areas with high UV radiation is a significant denominator. Individuals with fair skin, light hair, and those who have had skin cancer previously are at higher risk.
Melanoma Skin Cancer
In contrast to non-melanoma skin cancer types, melanoma is a less common but more aggressive cancer type that demands your attention. Each year, over 15,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Australia. While this accounts for roughly 10% of all skin cancers, Melanoma is responsible for a staggering 75% of skin cancer-related deaths, underscoring the significance of addressing melanoma comprehensively.
To Identify a melanoma, overall vigilance and regular skin checks are required. Employees should keep an eye out for asymmetrical moles or growths on the skin, irregular borders, uneven colouring, or any changes in size. Melanoma often exhibits these distinctive features, making them valuable indicators for early detection. Intense and intermittent sun exposure, particularly leading to sunburn, is a significant risk factor and while it is important for everyone to be vigilant, including those with darker skin types, individuals with a high number of moles on their body or a family history of melanoma will be at increased risk.
5 Prevention Strategies in the Workplace for Different Skin Cancer Types
All Skin cancer types are equal-opportunity threats, affecting both outdoor and indoor employees. Outdoor workers face heightened risks due to prolonged sun exposure, while indoor employees are not immune, as incidental sun exposure during lunch breaks or near windows can pose dangers. HR managers hold a pivotal role in minimising the risk of different skin cancer types within the workplace, and here’s how you can take proactive steps:
1.Run a ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’ Campaign
For melanoma prevention, champion the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’ campaign. Encourage employees to slip on protective clothing, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade, and slide on sunglasses whenever they are outdoors.
2. Promote Sunscreen Use
Encourage the consistent use of sunscreen, no matter where employees work. When possible, HR managers should also consider providing sunscreen samples or stations near outdoor spaces to encourage employees to protect themselves during their outdoor breaks.
3. Sun-Safe Workplace Environment
To create a sun-safe workplace environment, a workplace should consider offering shaded spots for outdoor breaks and UV filters on heavily-exposed windows, or offices set at high-building levels.
4. Skin Cancer Seminars and Education
Organise informative skin cancer seminars for your employees. These sessions can shed light on the risks, symptoms, and prevention strategies for all skin cancer types. Raising awareness is the first line of defence.
5. Regular Skin Checks
Facilitate regular skin checks for your employees. These checks can be conducted by qualified dermal professionals, like the Skin Smart team, who can detect and prevent potential skin cancer types accurately. Remember that early detection dramatically improves skin cancer treatment outcomes.
As a Human Resource Manager, your dedication to employee well-being must extend to shielding them from skin cancer risks. The first crucial step is education. Inspire your team to take charge of their skin health by booking workplace skin cancer seminars and screening with Skin Smart.