HMF launches Australian first to help prevent melanoma

The Hunter Melanoma Foundation (HMF) has launched a simple animated guide aimed at helping people check and protect their skin.

It is believed that this is the only easy to follow instructional video produced in Australia.

The idea for the video was developed by Foundation Executive Officer, Claudia Tolhurst in collaboration with the Foundation board after a number of local people, skin specialists, doctors and melanoma specialists suggested that the community would value a simple guide.


The Check and Protect video guides people through a simple way to check all parts of their body for changes to their skin and spots as well as some handy hints for protecting skin from the sun. The project had been on the Foundation’s ‘wish list’ for some time, but Covid19 presented an opportunity.


“Many of our normal activities had to be cancelled due to social distancing orders, so we began to work on projects that could be done in isolation,” Claudia said.


“By chance, our public affairs consultants were in contact with a young local man who had returned to the region after working for major animation studios in Sydney and Melbourne where he worked on major blockbuster movies. His work had dried-up due to the pandemic and he was pleased to help us out.


“Nathan Cox who grew up in Eleebana and went to Warners Bay High worked closely with the team at Purser Communication to animate and voice the video. The result is a simple and informative guide to undertaking a regular skin check and protect regime,” she said.


As well as graphics and voice over, the video also includes captions and is available to view on the Foundation’s website and social media platforms.


Initial feedback has been outstanding with a number of local medical and skin specialists now working with HMF to use the video as part of their own patient communication.


“Nobody knows your skin like you do, so it’s important that people know how to check their skin and what areas to specifically look for changes. The earliest sign that something is not right is often picked-up by a patient. That’s why the HMF self-examine skin check is such a vital tool,” Director of Newcastle Skin Check, Dr Tony Azzi said.


The Foundation hopes to be able to take the video further into the community and will use its ambassadors including Pat Langlois from the Newcastle Jets to champion the use of the video across all sporting codes and community groups.


“It only takes five minutes out of your day every three months to check your skin. With melanoma being the most common cancer for people aged between 15 and 39, I think everyone can add it to their routine. I know I will be,” Pat said.

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