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  • susanherdman

Skin Cancer

We got your back, Jack! It’s fairly common knowledge that physiotherapists are trained to deal with a wide variety of aches, sprains, and shooting pains. What is NOT common knowledge is that physios are ALSO trained to be on the lookout for other “red flag” conditions – especially ones that you can’t see for yourself such as a suspicious mole on your back or the sole of your foot…

This is one of the reasons we request you wear shorts or tank-tops (or if you’re comfortable with it – actually remove your shirt) during your telephysiotherapy session. While we may be observing your posture and alignment, we are also keeping an eye out for abnormal moles – following the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation’s “ABCDE’s”:

(from the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (1))

Catching skin cancer early is the key to improving outcomes and saving your life – survival rates plummet from 92% (for an early-stage lesion) to 5% (for a metastatic melanoma) (2). The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation recommends performing your own skin checks on a monthly basis (3), but sometimes it can be challenging to properly view the back of your neck, shoulders, spine, and legs without the use of mirrors, a trusted friend, and/or being a contortion artist…

If we ever see anything suspicious during our assessment, we will be sure to let you know and refer you back to your physician for further investigation.

This summer, you may be tempted to go for the glorious “glow” and bare your skin to the sun – but as the Australian Cancer Society states, “No tan is worth dying for” (4).

Here’s a quick reminder of 5 ways to protect yourself from Skin cancer (5):

  • SLIP – on a shirt or sun protective clothing

  • SLOP – on some sunscreen (SPF 30 (or higher))

  • SLAP – on a hat (broad brims = better)

  • SEEK – out the shade

  • SLIDE – on some sunglasses

While we as physiotherapists can’t treat this, we always are on the lookout – and just wanted to let you know…

We’ve got your back!

For more information about skin cancer or to book an appointment for us to assess any other pain or injury, contact InReach Physio.

By: Susan Herdman, Registered Physiotherapist

Book a telephysio / online physio / virtual physio / video physiotherapy appointment with a registered physiotherapist in British Columbia. InReach Online Physio services communities in northern and rural BC, such as Masset, Queen Charlotte, Fraser Lake, Fort Nelson, Fort St James, Dease Lake, Fort St John, Dawson Creek, the Gulf Islands, and more!


  1. Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (2018). The ABCDE’s of Early Detection: What to Look For. Accessed Jun 13/22:

  2. Boissonnault, WG (2011). Chapter 10: Patient interview: The physical examination in Primary Care for the Physical Therapist: Examination and Triage (2nd Ed, pg 137-147). Elsevier Saunders (St. Louis, Missouri).

  3. Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation (2018). Early Detection: Skin Cancer Early Detection. Accessed Jun 13/22:

  4. Cancer Council Australia (2022). Cancer information/Causes and prevention/Sun safety/Campaigns and events / No tan is worth dying for. Accessed Jun 13/22:

  5. Cancer Council Australia (2022). Patient Handout/Brochure: 10 myths about sun protection. Accessed Jun 13/22:

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