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Spotting Skin Cancer – Professional Educational Event a Huge Success

Across the medical, health and beauty sector, a wide range of professionals come into contact with skin every day. These professionals could be the key to early identification of potential skin cancers on their patient’s or client’s skin, however, they need to be equipped with the right knowledge to do so. 

On Wednesday 8th November, more than 130 optometrists, podiatrists, chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, dentists, hair stylists and beauty therapists attended a complimentary educational event, hosted by Dermatology Hawke’s Bay, supported by generous sponsorship from L’Oreal. The topic of the event, held at Toitoi, Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre in Hastings, was Spotting Skin Cancer.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, which is no surprise due to our outdoor lifestyle and strong ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels. An ultraviolet level of three is enough to cause skin damage and values of 10 or more should be considered as ‘extreme’. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) data shows that over a New Zealand summer period our average UV value is about 8-10, with a maximum value of 12 often being reached. For comparison, UV 8 is rare in the UK, even in the height of summer.

After a delicious three-course meal, Dermatology Hawke’s Bay’s specialist dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Dr. Juber Hafiji took to the stage to deliver an informative and entertaining presentation on how to spot skin cancer, different skin cancer types, skin cancer treatments including the gold-standard Mohs micrographic surgery, and recent skin research and trends, followed by a question and answer session.

“It is important for professionals, especially those who practice in Hawkes Bay, to be informed on the potential signs of skin cancers. Basal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), and particularly melanomas, could be potentially life-threatening if not picked up early. So recognising the signs, asking about patient history, and referring them for specialist diagnosis and treatment is paramount,” Dr Juber Hafiji told his audience.  

The evening concluded with four lucky attendees winning prizes. Feedback from attendees was very positive – including this selection of comments:    

“What a well organised, educational and entertaining evening. Absolutely loved the presentation Dr Hafiji. Looking forward to future events.” 

“That was amazing, thank you Dr Juber and L’Oreal!”

“Being in a province we often miss out on these type of events given in larger population areas. Excellent in every way…thank you.”

Dermatology Hawke’s Bay will look to hold similar events in the future to further educate professionals.