WITH UV levels consistently at very high and extreme levels, alarming new data has shown that melanoma diagnoses could increase by 24 per cent over the next decade.
The latest data from the Victorian Cancer Registry (VCR) shows melanoma continues to be the fifth most common cancer in our state, despite it being one of the most preventable cancers.
Last year, 2,885 Victorians were diagnosed with melanoma (1,697 males and 1,188 females), accounting for 8 per cent of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2022 (8.6 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in males and 7.2 per cent in females).
VCR director, Professor Sue Evans, said while the report shows the number of melanomas, it doesn’t provide the full picture when it comes to the skin cancer burden on our state.
“The report doesn’t provide the number of other skin cancers, including basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, due to the sheer volume of these diagnosed. Other skin cancers have a very high prevalence, in Victoria there are around 150,000 treatments of skin cancers,” Professor Evans said. “We predict increases in cancers like melanoma based on historical trends in patterns of diagnoses and we use data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that projects population growth over the coming years. While we predict an increase, we know melanoma is preventable and there are steps Victorians can take to reduce their risk of developing this type of cancer,” said Professor Evans.
Repeated exposure to the sun’s UV radiation accounts for most skin cancers, including melanoma, which can spread to vital organs like the brain, lungs and liver.
Thankfully, skin cancers are almost entirely preventable by using sun protection whenever the UV index hits 3, yet the 2022 Summer Sun Protection Survey found only 1 in 6 knew when the UV hits 3 on the index that sun protection was needed.
“You can’t see or feel UV, and it’s not dependent on the weather, so we plead with Victorians to take the guess work out and check the UV level before going outdoors and if it’s 3 or above, cover up using all five forms of sun protection,” said Head of SunSmart Victoria, Emma Glassenbury.
Find out more or to download the SunSmart Global UV App via sunsmart.com.au.