WARNING: As the mercury rises with the impending arrival of summer Queenslanders are warned to exercise caution in the sun.
WARNING: As the mercury rises with the impending arrival of summer Queenslanders are warned to exercise caution in the sun. Lucy Smith

Melanomas in QLD predicted to rise by more than 42%

THE number of invasive melanomas diagnosed annually is predicted to rise by more than 42% by 2025, if Queenslanders fail to make sun protection a priority.

New figures released by Cancer Council Queensland for National Skin Cancer Action Week (November 20-26), 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.

Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and Queenslanders are more likely to die from melanoma than other Australians.

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[2] 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).

LAURA MCKOY

Cancer Council Queensland


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