Ambassadors

Emily Bates

Emily Bates, high profile AFLW player, dual All Australian and Lions Best and Fairest winner, announced as new Ambassador for Skin Cancer College Australasia during National Skin Cancer Action Week. 

At the age of 26, Emily Bates –  high-profile AFLW player, dual All Australian and Lions Best and Fairest winner – has had more than her fair share of brushes with skin cancer. After having multiple basal cell skin cancers removed over the past three years, she is now a passionate advocate for sun protection and the early detection of skin cancers.  

To help spread the word about skin self-examination, Emily has become the latest Ambassador for the Skin Cancer College Australasia. The College’s announcement of Emily’s new role aligns with National Skin Cancer Action week – November 21st to 27th 2021. The week acts as an important reminder for all Australians to use sun protection and of the importance of early skin cancer detection.

Emily’s skin cancers are the result of repeated exposure to the sun when she was growing up as a typically active child playing football and cricket, so being an ambassador for the Skin Cancer College is the perfect way for her to let others know what to do if they find a suspicious spot or mole.

“People think that having a regular skin check is not something you need to do at 25. However, when you consider that melanoma is the most common life-threatening cancer in the 15 to 44 year age group, it’s certainly worth taking a few moments every month to check your skin and schedule an annual check with an Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor”.

Skin Cancer College Australasia President Dr Robert Pennisi said “We know that 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. This statistic is alarming.   

Skin cancer doctors are very concerned about lower than usual numbers of people presenting for skin checks during the COVID pandemic*. Delaying a skin check could quite simply be a life and death decision.

We encourage all Australians to be familiar with their skin through regular skin self-examination. Then you can easily identify if a spot on your skin is sore, changing, abnormal or new.”

Emily Bates said that one of the questions she is most frequently asked by members of the public is who should they see if they find something suspicious on their skin?  

“I now recommend to everyone to visit the SCAN Your Skin website and use the locate a doctor directory to find their closest Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor. There are over 680 of these skin cancer GPs across Australia and New Zealand who have undertaken additional studies to treat and diagnose skin cancers. It is important not to delay having your skin check.”

Dr Pennisi said “We are extremely pleased to welcome Emily Bates, AFLW pioneer, as our new Ambassador. Emily represents a generation of Australians who are potentially unaware that melanoma is the most deadly cancer in their age group. Emily’s story and message is important - regardless of your age, know your skin and don’t ignore suspicious spots or lesions.”

*https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/National_and_jurisdictional_data_on_the_impact_of_COVID-19_on_medical_services_and_procedures 

Lee Kernaghan

Skin Cancer College Australasia is pleased to have country music icon and 36 times Golden Guitar winner Lee Kernaghan as our foundation ambassador.

Lee Kernaghan, our foundation Ambassador, shares why he is working with us to promote early detection and accredited skin cancer doctors.

The chart topper and 2008 Australian of the Year is a long-time and passionate supporter of rural and regional Australia and has previously spearheaded campaigns encouraging Australians to be sun-smart.

Like many Australians, the ‘Boy from the Bush’ has had a number of skin cancer scares.

“Every day I sing about a sunburnt country, but Australia’s great outdoors can definitely take a toll on your skin,” Kernaghan said.

“I’ve learnt first-hand how important it is to get regular skin checks.”

“I’m honoured to be Skin Cancer College Australasia’s foundation ambassador. Together I’m confident we can educate Australians about the critical benefits of the early detection of skin cancers and the need to visit an Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor for regular skin checks.”

Approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.

Every year, in Australia skin cancers account for approximately 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers, with the majority of skin cancers caused by exposure to the sun1.

Australia and New Zealand have the highest Melanoma rates in the world. In Australia, Melanoma represents 2 per cent of all skin cancers but causes 75 per cent of skin cancer deaths, with one Australian dying every five hours from the disease2.

We look forward to working with Lee to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of skin cancers.

1Cancer Council Australia
2Melanoma Institute Australia

Leisa Renwick

Cancer advocate and campaigner, Leisa Renwick is Skin Cancer College Australasia’s first New Zealand ambassador.

Leisa Renwick, our New Zealand Ambassador, shares her story of being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, survivorship and advocacy for improved prevention and treatment of skin cancers.

Diagnosed with stage-four melanoma on Mother’s Day in 2015, doctors told the mother of three she had weeks to live.

Fortunately, her husband Wayne refused to accept the prognosis and discovered a private oncology specialist who administered Leisa with gene therapy treatment and immunotherapy drugs, which, against the odds, saved her life.

“The support and love of my family and friends kept me alive just long enough for the treatment and drugs to start working. I was days away from death,” Leisa said.

Appalled by the have, have not divide in health care, Leisa, while in the midst of her own cancer battle started a petition to Parliament requesting the New Zealand Government fund lifesaving treatment for late-stage melanoma patients, regardless of their socio-economic status.

“In partnership with hundreds of other melanoma patients and their families, we collected more than 11,000 signatures and pressured the Government to take action,” Leisa said.

“They did, giving an extra $39 million in funding to help patients battling advanced melanoma.

“I might have been the public face of the campaign, but I wasn’t standing alone. There were hundreds of brave people who stood beside me and spoke out, including my family and friends, nurses, medical experts and other cancer patients.”

In long-term remission and off treatment since May last year, Leisa is also a vocal advocate for regular skin checks by an Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor.

“They have the expertise and have undergone additional training so they can identify suspicious spots and lesions and accurately diagnose and treat skin cancer,” Leisa said.

“Skin Cancer College Australasia is also using education, research, advocacy and standards to ensure accessible and accurate skin cancer diagnosis and management is available to all New Zealanders.

“It’s an honour to be Skin Cancer College Australasia’s New Zealand ambassador. Together I’m confident we can educate New Zealanders about the critical benefits of the early detection of skin cancers and the need to visit an Accredited Skin Cancer Doctor for regular skin checks.