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A Focus on Melanoma in March

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world. Melanoma is the most common cancer affecting 20 to 39-year-old Australians and one Aussie is diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes. It is estimated 1300 Australians will die from melanoma this year.

melanomaMelanoma of the skin was the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2017. It is estimated that it was the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2021.
In 2017, there were 14,846 new cases of melanoma of the skin diagnosed in Australia (8,747 males and 6,099 females). In 2021, it is estimated that 16,878 new cases of melanoma of the skin will be diagnosed in Australia (9,869 males and 7,009 females). In 2021, it is estimated that a person has a 1 in 18 (or 5.7%) risk of being diagnosed with melanoma of the skin by the age of 85 (1 in 15 or 6.7% for males and 1 in 22 or 4.6% for females).

sun protection

Ultra-violet radiation (UVR) is a Group 1 carcinogen which causes melanoma and other types of skin cancer, including basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Exposure to UVR via sun exposure is estimated to cause around 95% of melanoma cases in Australia, and excessive childhood sun exposure may impart a particularly high risk for developing melanoma. Skin types that have a greater tendency to sunburn are also associated with a greater risk of melanoma.

So what can you do?

  • daily sun protection - follow the 5S- do you know what they are?
  • get at least annual skin checks
  • keep an eye on your own skin & any new or unusual changes keeping in mind:
    • A- asymmetry
    • B- irregular border
    • C - colour darkening/changes
    • D- diameter > 5mm or different to other moles
    • E - evolving changes

Prevention is always better than cure & sun protection is a habit as important as brushing your teeth!

Overdue for a skin check? Book in for one sooner than later! Your skin is the largest organ you have and most exposed to the elements so it’s imperative you look after it!


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