Australian melanoma rates take the silver – and that's good news
31 March 2016
The average risk of melanoma in Australia may have peaked in 2005 while New Zealand's rates of melanoma have risen to be the highest globally. However, Australia's burden of melanoma might stay very high over the next 15 years as the population ages. MIA Research Director Professor Mann explains.
A new study by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, one of MIA’s research affiliates, has examined melanoma rates in six different countries and used current trends to predict how they will change in coming years.
The latest data from cancer registries are from 2011. In the five years prior to that, 50 cases of melanoma occurred per 100,000 people in New Zealand while in Australia the rates fell slightly from our world-leading position in 2002-06, to 48 cases per 100,000 in 2011. Researchers predict a peak incidence of about 51 in New Zealand by 2016-2017; while in Australia rates should continue to edge down from a peak of about 49 in 2005.
Why is this happening?
The main clue is that rates of melanoma in young and middle aged Australian adults peaked in the early 2000s. This is good news because it shows that our awareness, prevention and sun protection work, especially with children in recent decades, is reaping benefits that will clearly continue in decades to come. In New Zealand the same impact has been seen in the young, but the rise of melanoma in older people has been stronger and harder to stop.
The down side of these results is that the sun exposure “banked” by people who grew up in the 1920s-1950s is still being converted into skin cancer and melanoma, especially as these generations are living longer. The total number of cases of melanoma will probably stay steady in Australia until the 2030s, but in New Zealand it is predicted to grow another 25% over 2011 levels.
So we have all been doing a pretty good job of holding this epidemic at bay, but we need to work harder with Australians over 50 (like me!). These age groups missed out on sun smart campaigns as youngsters and UV radiation has already damaged their skin badly. However, we know that our risk of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer is driven by the total dose of UV that we get throughout our life, not just when we were young. So, just as it is never too late to stop smoking, every year of good sun protection helps undo the damage done before.
Dedicated and increased prevention efforts to reduce unnecessary UV exposure remains our key weapon to fight melanoma in the future. It would be great to show by 2030 that these predictions of melanoma rates in older Australians for the 2020s were too pessimistic.
Jay's Longest Melanoma March documentary is screening this Sunday 22 September at 1pm (AEST) on Channel 10, capturing behind the scenes of the 2000km walk, Adelaide to Sydney in 50 days. Uniting to end melanoma.
It’s been a month since we highlighted some of our incredibly generous community fundraisers. We thought we’d have a look back at August and put the spotlight on more of the wonderful people who give up their time to fundraise for MIA, so we can continue to edge closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.
They are a formidable team - in work and in play
This week, Melanoma Institute Australia hosted the first of six
Federal government urged
We want to thank every member of Team Melanoma and everyone who donated to them. With your help, we are moving closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma!
Lauren O'Brien tells us why she's running for a cause close to her heart
MIA could not do what we do without the incredible support and effort of our community fundraisers. We’d like to highlight some of the wonderful events organised by our community in
An international study, led by researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and The University of Sydney as part of the Australian Melanoma Genome Project, has discovered that a drug traditionally used to treat a
Researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia took centre stage at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago. Results presented by MIA’s contingent have the potential to create better patient outcomes and change the way advanced melanoma
Today is International Clinical Trials Day – a day to recognise and thank the amazing people who conduct, organise, and coordinate clinical trials.
“I’m the age Emma was when she passed away. It almost feels
As always, part of the PBAC process invites clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community to make submissions
As always, part of the PBAC process invites clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community to make submissions in support of the PBS listing.
MIA had four winners in the 2017 Premiers Awards. Find out how winning has influenced their work over the past year.
Cancer Council awards Melanoma Institute Australia researchers funding for ground-breaking cancer research projects
Almost $9 million of new funding was awarded to 13 ground-breaking cancer research projects at the 2019 Cancer Council NSW Research Awards.
Georgina V. Long is co-medical director of Melanoma Institute Australia and Chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Translational Research. She is the first woman president of the Society for Melanoma Research.
Quintessential Aussie girl and media personality Sophie Monk has been announced as a National Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign, Melanoma March.