TAL SpotChecker Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your Frequently Asked Questions.

TAL SpotChecker

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops in the skin’s pigment cells. In the majority of cases, it's caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light – but it can appear on parts of your body not exposed to the sun. 

Learn more about how melanoma develops and how you can protect and check your skin on our ‘skin cancer prevention’ page.

 

 

What do I need to bring to my TAL SpotChecker appointment?

All you'll need on the day is a valid ID with your name to verify your appointment.

The TAL SpotChecker skin specialists will confirm your details as they will keep clinical notes for each person examined. This data will also be stored securely by the skin specialists for the purpose of maintaining your medical history. This information will not be shared with TAL.

What will happen during my TAL SpotChecker appointment?

When you arrive, a team member will give you a consent form with terms and conditions to read and sign. By signing the consent form, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions. 

A team member will then introduce you to a professional skin specialist who'll perform a full skin examination in a private consultation room. 

For a full skin examination you’ll need to undress down to your underwear or swimwear so that the skin specialist can conduct a visual skin check. The skin specialist will carefully inspect your body, looking for any irregular spots.

The skin specialist will not be taking photos or completing biopsies at TAL SpotChecker.

What should I do if the skin specialist finds an irregular spot?

TAL SpotChecker specialists are suitably qualified and experienced medical professionals, from Australian Skin Cancer Clinics. 

If they find an irregular spot, they'll refer you to a GP, a skin cancer clinic or a dermatologist who will be able to perform further tests and provide a diagnosis. 

It is important that you take the extra step to obtain a complete diagnosis so that you can implement any recommended treatment options suggested by a medical practitioner. Australian Skin Cancer Clinics will also follow up with you, to make sure you've got access to the extra help you need.

While the TAL SpotChecker skin specialist won’t be able to provide a diagnosis on site, they will be able to answer any questions you may have. 

Based on your risk factors, skin type and any irregular spots they discover, they will make recommendations about when you should consider having a future skin check.

I’ve tried to make an appointment, but there aren’t any spaces free – what should I do?

We are only taking a limited number of appointments, but you can come along on the day for a walk-in appointment, if any are available.

Alternatively, contact your GP or a skin cancer clinic and arrange a skin-check directly with them.

You may also be interested in this offer from Firstcheck - one of TAL’s partners - enabling you to get your skin checked by sending photos of your skin spots and moles directly to a skin cancer doctor for review.

How do I cancel my appointment?

If you’re no longer able to make your appointment, it’s really important to let us know so someone else can take your place. When you book your TAL SpotChecker appointment, we'll send a confirmation email, which includes a link to cancel the appointment if you need to.

How do I change the date or time of my appointment?

When you book your TAL SpotChecker appointment, we'll send a confirmation email. If you need to change your appointment, click the 'cancel' link in the email and re-book online with the new date and time (subject to availability).

Will you store my results, or pass my details on to other providers?

In line with a professional skin check at your regular GP or skin cancer clinic, the skin specialists will need to keep clinical notes for each person examined. This data will also be stored securely by the skin specialists for the purpose of maintaining your medical history. This information will not be shared with TAL.

Will this affect my current policy, or any future policies or claims I make with TAL?

No, participating in TAL SpotChecker will not adversely affect your current or future policies or claims with TAL.

If you are looking at taking out a new policy with TAL however, you will need to disclose any pre-existing conditions as part of our standard process. You'll be informed of the impact of these conditions on your policy during the process.

TAL brings you Firstcheck*

What is Firstcheck?

Did you know that doctors can identify skin cancer from photos of the skin? Now you can send photos of your skin spots and moles directly to a skin cancer doctor for review - anytime, anywhere. Helping you with regular skin checks, it’s an easy, convenient and affordable way to get your suspect spots checked when you notice them, for your peace of mind. Know if that spot is ‘dodgy or not’ - a doctor is now just a click away. 

Firstcheck 3 steps

The Firstcheck App and SkinScopeTM (smartphone skin magnifier) are personal skin check tools enabling you to take ‘selfies’ of spots and to send the pictures direct to Australian skin cancer experts. You can do it all from the comfort of home. No appointments, no waiting lists, just specialist advice the first time. 

Firstcheck also enables you to create your own skin health records and track any changes over time.

You can find out more at Firstcheck.

Is it possible to detect skin cancer using photographs?

Sure is – and this technology is commonly used within the medical profession. Skin cancer is considered a ‘visual cancer’ after all. Firstcheck is now making the technology more widely available to help improve access to skin screening services.

What can I get checked through the Firstcheck App?

Anything on your skin or body that concerns you – whether that be a mole, spot, lesion, mark or sore. After all, skin cancer comes in lots of different shapes and sizes – and the key is to detect it early.

What should I be checking for?

The Skin Cancer College of Australasia recommends that once a month you “SCAN” your skin looking for spots or moles that are:

  • SORE - a spot which is sore (scaly, itchy, bleeding or tender) and doesn’t heal within 6 weeks,
  • CHANGING - in appearance (size, shape, colour or texture),
  • ABNORMAL - looks different, feels different, or stands out when compared to other spots and moles (e.g. the ‘Ugly Duckling’ – see below), and
  • NEW - spots that have appeared recently.

Ugly ducklings: Most moles and spots on your body are the same or are similar-looking to each other. Compare your spots with other spots on your body. If any mole or spot stands out or looks noticeably different from that of surrounding spots, it is the “Ugly Duckling”, and should be checked.

 

How much does it cost?

The Firstcheck App is free to download and free to use for ‘DIY mole mapping’ (storing photos of moles). TAL is able to offer you a TAL-exclusive discount code which reduces the cost of each in-app doctor consultation to $16.95. Simply enter the coupon code TALSKN on the in-app payment screen to reduce the price to $16.95 for each consultation. 

Is it a doctor on the other end?

Firstcheck reviews are conducted by registered local doctors with skin cancer expertise. You can review the doctor’s profile and qualifications in-app providing you with assurance and peace of mind. These are doctors that you could otherwise make an appointment to see in-clinic.

What about full body skin checks?

A full body skin check by your GP, skin cancer clinic or dermatologist can also help detect early signs of skin cancer, complementing your regular self-checks.

It’s important to talk to your GP about your skin type and ask for advice on early detection. They can advise you on how frequently you should consider getting a full body skin check by a doctor to complement your regular self-checks.

Why use the Firstcheck SkinScope™?

Your smartphone photos are a great source of information about your skin – and many clinicians rely on smartphones for clinical photography.

Skin specialists also use specialised magnifying tools (dermoscopes) and are trained in interpreting highly-magnified skin images to help distinguish harmless spots from skin cancer.

The Firstcheck SkinScope™ (smartphone skin magnifier) is a specialised skin magnifier enabling highly-magnified and detailed skin photography through a smartphone. Just attach it over your smartphone camera to capture 20x magnified images with detail you have to see to believe – and the doctors have a trained eye to interpret that detail.

How do I use the Firstcheck SkinScope™?

When prompted in the Firstcheck App:

  • Lift the lid on the SkinScope™, exposing the adhesive / sticky surface.

  • Stick the SkinScope™ directly over the smartphone camera lens.

  • Apply a small amount of fluid (e.g. oil, water or hand sanitiser) to the area you’re going to photograph (see the ‘How it Works' page).

  • Press the SkinScope™ directly down on to your moistened skin. Pressed to your skin, the image is optimally focused, “camera shake” is avoided and any air bubbles in the fluid are removed.

  • Simply take the photo on your device as normal (using the ‘tap to focus’ feature) making sure you are in well-lit area.

Watch a video of how to use the SkinScope™ here.

The SkinScope™ is designed to be used more than once so when you’re finished taking your photos, pop it back in the box to use next time.

What makes for good skin photos?

Our smartphones are pretty clever these days and good at automatically snapping good photos. Aim for sharp, focused, non-blurred photos taken in good light. ‘Tap to focus’ is a great feature found on many smart devices.

How many photos do I take of the same spot?

The Firstcheck App guides you step-by-step to take three photos of the same spot from different distances. The third photo is taken using the Firstcheck SkinScope™ (for a highly-magnified skin image). 

Your chosen skin cancer doctor will then reply back to you via the app. That’s one consultation. 

Checking another spot involves taking another three photos and a separate consultation.

How will I get my results?

You will receive a notification (by email and smartphone notification) that your results are available to view in your Firstcheck app within the ‘My Records’ section. Simply log in and review your results. When installing and using Firstcheck for the first time, remember to accept smartphone notifications from Firstcheck.

Will Firstcheck store my results, or pass my details on to other providers?

As health records, and in line with a professional skin check at your regular GP or skin cancer clinic, clinical notes are maintained and securely stored for each person and shared with the consulting doctor. This information will not be shared with TAL.

Firstcheck’s full privacy policy is available in-app.

Will this affect my current policy, or any future policies or claims I make with TAL?

No, participating in TAL SpotChecker or Firstcheck will not adversely affect your current or future policies or claims with TAL. 

If you are looking at taking out a new policy with TAL however, you will need to disclose any pre-existing conditions as part of our standard process. You'll be informed of the impact of these conditions on your policy during the process.

 

* This service (and any liability associated with its provision) is provided by FirstCheck and not TAL.

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