Me­lanoma rates sta­ble

The Western Star - - OPINION NEWS -

FOR the first time Queens­land re­searchers have found that in­ci­dence rates for in­va­sive melanomas have started to sta­bilise or fall in those aged un­der 60 years, a ground­break­ing new study shows.

The Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land study, pub­lished in the In­ter­na­tional Jour­nal of Can­cer, ex­am­ined me­lanoma in­ci­dence and mor­tal­ity rates from the past 20 years, with in­ci­dence rates now plateau­ing in those aged 40-59, and de­clin­ing in those aged un­der 40.

Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land’s Head of Re­search Pro­fes­sor Joanne Aitken said the turn­around in me­lanoma rates was the re­sult of more than 30 years of skin can­cer pre­ven­tion and early de­tec­tion cam­paigns.

“Queens­land has the high­est rate of skin can­cer in the world, with around 3700 peo­ple di­ag­nosed with me­lanoma each year,” Pro­fes­sor Aitken said.

“The find­ings are ex­tremely promis­ing and give good ev­i­dence that long-run­ning me­lanoma pre­ven­tion and early de­tec­tion cam­paigns have re­sulted in a fall in the bur­den of me­lanoma across suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions.

“Can­cer Coun­cil’s sig­na­ture Slip, Slop, Slap cam­paign, which launched in the early 1980s and ex­panded to in­clude Seek and Slide more re­cently, started a shift in sun pro­tec­tive be­hav­iours which is now show­ing re­sults.

“Melanomas that re­sult from sun ex­po­sure can present many years af­ter the dam­age is done.

“Queens­lan­ders aged 60 and over who did not grow up with pre­ven­tion cam­paigns, con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence higher rates of me­lanoma. How­ever, we are now see­ing rates de­cline in younger gen­er­a­tions who have been in­flu­enced by pre­ven­tion cam­paigns from an early age.

“Me­lanoma re­mains one of the most pre­ventable can­cers and if de­tected early, most cases can be treated suc­cess­fully.”

Mor­tal­ity rates have also started to de­cline by two per cent an­nu­ally in males aged 40-59, and by three per cent an­nu­ally in both male and fe­males un­der 40.

More in­for­ma­tion about Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land and stay­ing SunS­mart is avail­able at can­cerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.

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