Warning for outdoor workers about skin cancer

Friday, 04 April, 2008

New figures published by The Cancer Council Victoria in 2008 show that the number of Victorians affected by melanoma is at the highest level ever.

Latest figures from the Victorian Cancer Registry show that in 2005, melanoma overtook lung cancer and is now the fourth most common cause of cancer in Victorians.

In 2005, some 2347 Victorians were diagnosed with melanoma, an increase of 388 cases from the previous year. A total of 245 Victorians died from melanoma in 2005.

SunSmart manager Kylie Strong says the latest figures are signs of a concerning trend:

“These latest figures do confirm that melanoma is on the increase in Victoria, in both men and women. Based on these latest figures, on average six Victorians a day are diagnosed with melanoma.

“Analysis of the latest figures shows that the increase is largely in people aged 60 and over and those aged 40–59. However, we’re pleased to see that trends in people under 40 remain stable.

“We must remember that the problem of skin cancer in Victoria is much larger then just melanoma. There are estimated to be nearly 40,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell and basal carcinoma every year. And while melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer can also cause death or disfigurement.”

Strong cautioned Victorians that while summer has officially come to an end, UV radiation levels are still high throughout the state: “UV levels are still high enough to cause skin damage and will continue to be until around May.”

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