Melanoma rates stable
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.