By Gavan Macrides
Being a physiotherapist, working in the health sector, and working at a range of our wellness centres certainly provides it share of heartwarming and rewarding moments. We often marvel as a team at Pinnacle Health Group how lucky we are to work in a field involved with helping people – as we get to see the transformation of our clients from stressed, pain-suffering and agitated to appreciative, energised and pain-free every single day.
One of the more unexpected but heartwarming moments of this year for us, however, has been delivering skin cancer checks to our corporate clients.
Back in January this year, The AFL recently made some upgrades to their employee wellness programme – and one huge part of this was skin cancer checks. With the recent high-profile diagnosis of Jarryd Roughhead with melanoma, AFL House engaged us to deliver skin cancer checks for their Docklands employees.
In Australia, the average engagement level of a workplace wellness programme sits at around 15% – that is, just 15% of employees will get involved in company-provided health initiatives, on average (Xerox Survey Report, 2016).
This particular initiative – of 350 AFL employees, we delivered 190 skin checks – which came in at over 50% of the testable population.
However, it was over the course of the month of testing that the real rewarding moments came – in the form of detection, and subsequent removal of cancerous lesions from the skin cancer check process. Of the 180 tests conducted, 3 malignant cancers were detected and removed – and the subsequent relief and celebration for those involved was literally a life changing event. Our team of GPS and medical staff did an amazing job, and while were so excited to be rewarded by sharing in the great news, this is course wouldn’t have come close to the overwhelming gratitude of the AFl employees involved.
The employees were incredibly thankful to their employee for engaging us to do the skin checks – and quite emotionally confirmed that if it had not have been offered at work, they simply would not have sought a skin cancer check on their own accord, which could have had dire consequences in their case.
With summer starting in a day or so – we are busy setting skin cancer checks as an important wellbeing fixture for December, January and February for companies across Australia. This is simply because of the horrifying statistic that 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 (Australian Cancer Council, 2017). We strongly encourage employers to get this organised now – and share the responsibility (and relief) of skin cancer awareness with the or employees. They sure will thank you for it.