Australian melanoma rates take the silver – and that's good news

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. 

Major award for world-leaders in melanoma research
09 Nov 2018

Major award for world-leaders in melanoma research

Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer have been recognised as world leaders in melanoma research for their ground-breaking work that has changed the diagnosis and treatment landscape of melanoma world-wide, and tripled the life-expectancy of advanced melanoma patients. 

Melanoma Institute Australia shines at prestigious Cancer Research Awards
03 Nov 2018

Melanoma Institute Australia shines at prestigious Cancer Research Awards

Leading researchers from Melanoma Institute Australia have taken out the top accolades at the NSW Premier’s Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.

Women of MIA lead the way in melanoma research at SMR
31 Oct 2018

Women of MIA lead the way in melanoma research at SMR

An impressive contingent of female delegates from Melanoma Institute Australia have presented findings across the whole spectrum of melanoma research at the Society for Melanoma Research 2018 Congress in Manchester, England.

Women of MIA lead the way in melanoma research at SMR
31 Oct 2018

Women of MIA lead the way in melanoma research at SMR - Copy

An impressive contingent of female delegates from Melanoma Institute Australia have presented findings across the whole spectrum of melanoma research at the Society for Melanoma Research 2018 Congress in Manchester, England.

Immune cell research presented at SMR
30 Oct 2018

Immune cell research presented at SMR

Over 800 researchers and clinicians from around the world were welcomed to Manchester for the 15th International Congress of the Society for Melanoma Research (SMR). Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) has again sent an impressive number of delegates to present both oral presentations and posters with the latest in translational research.

Professor Georgina Long makes history as the first woman and first Australian to lead the Society for Melanoma Research
26 Oct 2018

Professor Georgina Long makes history as the first woman and first Australian to lead the Society for Melanoma Research

Professor Georgina Long makes history as the first woman and first Australian to lead the world’s most prestigious international melanoma research association.

Patients to benefit from updated skin tumour publications
26 Oct 2018

Patients to benefit from updated skin tumour publications

Two publications co-edited by MIA Co-Medical Director Professor Richard Scolyer are now available to healthcare professionals. They aim to provide assistance in the care and management of patients with skin cancer, including melanoma.

SunSafe Student Ambassador Program
25 Oct 2018

SunSafe Student Ambassador Program

Melanoma Institute Australia has introduced a new educational program to teach teenagers about the dangers of melanoma and the importance of sun safety. 

International collaboration the key to increasing survival
24 Oct 2018

International collaboration the key to increasing survival

"International collaboration remains the key to ensuring this pioneering research continues so we can increase survival rates for advanced melanoma patients and move us closer to achieving our goal of zero deaths from melanoma," says Professor Georgina Long, of the clinical trial results presented at ESMO 2018.

High-risk Stage III melanoma patients to benefit from Australia/Netherlands collaboration
23 Oct 2018

High-risk Stage III melanoma patients to benefit from Australia/Netherlands collaboration

Research that could change clinical practice for high-risk Stage III melanoma patients has been presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Munich.

Monthly dose of immunotherapy allows flexibility for patients undergoing treatment
11 Oct 2018

Monthly dose of immunotherapy allows flexibility for patients undergoing treatment

A larger, monthly dose of immunotherapy can give melanoma patients more freedom without sacrificing effectiveness.

Australia's best minds in melanoma research converge on Melbourne
08 Oct 2018

Australia's best minds in melanoma research converge on Melbourne

The Australasian Melanoma Conference, hosted by the Australasian Melanoma Conference Committee, was held in Melbourne on the weekend, with many of MIA's clinicians in attendance.

Nobel Prize for novel cancer therapies
04 Oct 2018

Nobel Prize for novel cancer therapies

The two men who discovered checkpoint inhibitors, the brakes of the immune system, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday, October 1.

World Health Organisation launches 4th edition of Classification of Skin Tumours
31 Aug 2018

World Health Organisation launches 4th edition of Classification of Skin Tumours

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is releasing the 4th edition of Classification of Skin Tumours.

Professor John Thompson awarded prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal
31 Aug 2018

Professor John Thompson awarded prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal

Former Executive Director of Melanoma Institute Australia Professor John Thompson awarded the prestigious 2018 RPA Foundation Research Medal.

Support PBS listing for pembrolizumab
23 Aug 2018

Support PBS listing for pembrolizumab

Clinicians, patients and other stakeholders in the cancer community are invited to make submissions in support of the PBS listing for pembrolizumab.

World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018
17 Aug 2018

World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018

The World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018 has featured many minds from MIA sharing their expertise and wealth of knowledge with over 1000 attendees from around the world.

Melanoma Institute Australia welcomes new CEO Matthew Browne
09 Aug 2018

Melanoma Institute Australia welcomes new CEO Matthew Browne

Melanoma Institute Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of Matthew Browne as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Melanoma in Practice: Nurse Conference
26 Jul 2018

Melanoma in Practice: Nurse Conference

It was a full house this week at Melanoma Institute Australia thanks to our ‘Melanoma in Practice: Nurse Conference’. 

Reducing the risk of melanoma in young adults
19 Jul 2018

Reducing the risk of melanoma in young adults

A new study from The University of Sydney shows that sunscreen reduces melanoma risk by 40 per cent when used from a young age.