The number of invasive melanomas diagnosed annually is predicted to rise by more than 42 per cent by 2025.
New figures released by Cancer Council Queensland for National Skin Cancer Action Week from November 20 to 26 show an estimated 5100 Queenslanders will be diagnosed with invasive melanoma in 2025 if current trends continue, up from 3600 in 2013.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Nicole Border said the figures highlighted the urgent need for Queenslanders to be vigilant about protecting their skin to reduce their risk of cancer later in life.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and Queenslanders are more likely to die from melanoma than other Australians,” Ms Border said.
“1 in 14 Queenslanders are likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime – a diagnosis that in many cases can be prevented.
“Skin cancers and melanoma are predominantly caused by overexposure to UV radiation.
“Research shows that only 35 per cent of Queensland adults used sunscreen when exposed to the sun on weekends. However, the daily use of sunscreen could reduce the risk of melanoma by up to 75 per cent.
“It’s imperative for Queenslanders to use all five sun protective measures when outdoors to reduce their cancer risk – slip on protective clothing, slop on SPF 30 or above broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen, slap on a broad-brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on wrap-around sunnies.
“While an expected increasing and aging population remains a driver of predicted increase in new melanomas, sun protection measures continue to play a major role in preventing the disease.”
The most recent data available shows that South West Queensland has the highest incidence of melanoma* (78 melanomas per 100,000 people are diagnosed each year), followed by the Sunshine Coast (76 melanomas per 100,000 people) and the Gold Coast (74 melanomas per 100,000 people).
Central Queensland recorded the lowest incidence of melanoma (55 melanomas per 100,000 people are diagnosed each year), followed by Mackay (59 melanomas per 100,000 people).
Ms Border said National Skin Cancer Action Week was a timely reminder that no matter where people live in the Sunshine State, they were at risk of sun damage.
“Sun exposure and sunburn are strong predictors of melanoma, no matter where you live in Queensland,” Ms Border said.
“While sun exposure is the most common environmental risk factor for melanoma, it can appear at any age and on any area of the body – not only those exposed to the sun.
“Queenslanders with fair skin, skin that burns easily, the presence of many moles, and a family history of skin cancer are at greater risk of developing melanoma.
“Early detection is vital in improving survival rates. It is imperative that Queenslanders get to know their own skin – if you notice a new spot or lesion, or a spot or lesion change in shape, colour or size – visit your GP immediately.”
Sun protection is required when the UV Index is 3 and above. In Queensland, the UV Index is 3 and above all year round, so Cancer Council Queensland encourages sun protection through every season.
The theme for National Skin Cancer Action Week is My #SunSmart5, reminding Queenslanders to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide at all times.
Around 3600 melanoma and 324,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed across the state each year, and tragically more than 390 people die from melanoma.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.