Issue Addressed: Farmers experience skin cancer and die from melanoma at significantly higher rates than the general Australian population. This study examined Australian farmers' engagement with self-skin examinations (SSE), participation in clinical skin examinations (CSE) by a health professional, and self-reported barriers to engagement with these important skin cancer detection practices.
Methods: A cross-sectional, mixed-methods design was used. Australian farmers were recruited through an industry-based organisation representing livestock farmers. Farmers (N = 498; 22–89 years; 83.1% male) responded to a paper-based survey that included closed- and open-ended questions.
Results: Farmers reported engagement with self-conducted SSE and routine CSE that was comparable to findings in the general population, but 29.4% of farmers reported that they had not sought a CSE as soon as possible after noticing changes to their skin. Farmers reported a range of barriers to SSE, including physical difficulties examining their skin, difficulties identifying changes in their skin, forgetfulness, and lack of motivation. Barriers to CSE included accessibility, cost, difficulties finding the right doctor, and avoidance and complacency.
Conclusions: There is a need to make clinical skin cancer detection more accessible to farmers, in addition to promoting self-skin examination and help-seeking behaviours within this at risk population.
So What?: Novel approaches are needed to address systemic barriers faced by Australian farmers. These may include the use of teledermatology or artificial intelligence to assist with CSE. Remote training delivery methods may be also utilised to teach SSE skills to farmers who may be otherwise unable to access such opportunities.
- health behaviour
- occupational medicine
- physical examination
- rural health
- skin neoplasms