Dalby a skin can­cer cap­i­tal

Dalby res­i­dents face much greater me­lanoma risk com­pared to the na­tional av­er­age

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Me­gan Masters

WHEN you think of me­lanoma, it’s easy to fo­cus on farm­ers and other peo­ple who spend much of their lives out­doors, but it pays for every­one to be vig­i­lant, ac­cord­ing to Dalby busi­ness owner Nev Volker.

Mr Volker has had a num­ber of skin can­cers re­moved, de­spite spend­ing the ma­jor­ity of his child­hood and adult years in­doors.

His warn­ing comes af­ter the Aus­tralian Can­cer At­las showed Dalby res­i­dents were a whop­ping 61 per cent more likely to be di­ag­nosed with me­lanoma than the na­tional av­er­age.

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The com­pre­hen­sive map shows the in­ci­dence of a range of can­cers by lo­ca­tion and there were some wor­ry­ing sta­tis­tics for Dalby res­i­dents.

On top of the high me­lanoma risk, the Aus­tralian Can­cer At­las showed res­i­dents of the re­gion were 41 per cent more likely to suf­fer head and neck can­cers.

They were also 14 per cent more likely to suf­fer bowel can­cer and 11 per cent more likely to suf­fer leukaemia.

On the pos­i­tive side, ac­cess to treat­ment and a vig­i­lance among res­i­dents meant me­lanoma suf­fer­ers were ac­tu­ally 3 per cent less likely to die from the con­di­tion than the na­tional av­er­age.

Mr Volker said the main fac­tor putting him at risk of me­lanoma was com­pli­ca­tions from kid­ney trans­plant med­i­ca­tions, but he came across plenty of peo­ple from all walks of life who had un­der­gone me­lanoma treat­ment.

“An­other friend of mine is younger than me, prob­a­bly about 44, and he had a skin can­cer cut off his face and he works in­doors,” Mr Volker said.

“My busi­ness part­ner had one cut off his leg and you see the farm­ers come in with scars from them.”

He said peo­ple would do well to be vig­i­lant with skin checks, which were quick, non-in­va­sive and cheap enough to come by.

How­ever, Mr Volker said one thing to be aware of was that doc­tors weren’t in­fal­li­ble, so if you had a spot you were wor­ried about it was im­por­tant to point it out.

“If you feel there is some­thing not right on the out­side of your body, get it checked,” he said.

“If you’re aware of some­thing spe­cific, then ask your doc­tor about it.

“I went in wor­ried about a spot on my leg and the doc­tor checked me over then asked what it was I was wor­ried about.

“I showed him my leg and he said, ‘Oh yes, that’s a bit con­cern­ing’.”

PHOTO: ME­GAN MASTERS

TAKE CARE: Dalby’s Nev Volker shows where one of the many melanomas were cut out - and is urg­ing res­i­dents to be vig­i­lant as it could save their lives.

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