Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world and is often referred to as ‘Australia’s national cancer’ and sadly, it's not hard to put this in perspective when you hear the stats:
- 1 Australian is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes
- It's the 3rd most common cancer in Australia
- 16,800 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year
- 1,300 Australians will die from melanoma this year
- 1 Australian Dies from Melanoma every 6 hours
- It's the number 1 most common cancer for Australians aged 20 to 39
- Melanoma is the second most common cancer in Australian men, after prostate cancer
- It is the 3rd most common cancer in Australian women, after breast and colorectal cancer.
- 95% of melanomas are caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun
- 90% of melanomas if caught early, can be cured by surgery
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer. It begins in the skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that make melanin., which give the skin colour.
Melanin also protects the deeper layers of the skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
When people spend time in the sun, the melancytes produce more melanin and cause the skin to tan.
If the skin receives too much ultraviolet light, the melanocytes may begin to grow abnormally and become cancerous. The condition is called melanoma.
One or more severe sunburns in childhood or adolesnce more than doubles a person's melanoma risk in later life.
Research & early detection play a vital key
- Incredibly, in the last decade, the 5-year overall survival rate for advanced melanoma has increased from <10% to >50%.
- In 2011, melanoma was Australia’s 7th most deadly cancer. In 2021, melanoma was Australia’s 11th most deadly cancer.
Have you had a skin check lately?
- It is important to ‘know the skin you’re in’
- Check out these great resources to know more about what to look out for.
- Seek medical advice if you notice anything new or changing on your skin.
- Book a skin check anually to keep on top of your skin health checks for changes.
You can limit your risk of melanoma (or any skin cancer) by limiting your exposure to ultraviolet light.
- Wear your Airyday Skinscreen everyday & reapply.
- Avoid sunbaking & tanning salons
- Stay out of the sun during peak UV periods (10-4pm)
- Wear protective clothing: wide hat, glasses & covered clothing
- Annual skin checks with a skin cancer specialist or Dermatologist.
Reference: Melanoma Institue of Australia