New figures show melanoma most common cancer in young Queenslanders
8 January 2016
Around 110 melanomas are diagnosed in males aged under 35 each year, followed by 80 cases of testicular cancer, while around 140 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Queensland females under 35. Thyroid cancer is the second most common cancer in this group affecting more than 60 women each year.
Commenting on the statistics MIA’s Research Director Professor Graham Mann highlighted that sun and solarium exposure are the most common causes of melanoma in younger people.
“We must remember that melanoma rates are influenced by UV radiation exposure that has happened many years earlier, especially in the formative years. The variances we are seeing may be because of the way men and women have used sunbaking and solariums differently.
“Many teenage girls and young women deliberately sunbake and may not cover up with a hat or protective clothing, so maybe this is having an impact. Or possibly male-female biology may be a factor. But man or woman, pursuing that summer glow is a gamble and ultimately can cost you a lot more than it’s worth,” Professor Mann said.
The latest Queensland figures are based on 2012 data prior to the banning of sun beds.
“Fortunately commercial solariums have been banned since about 2014. This was partly because we’ve learned that, among people who used solariums, most of their melanomas before the age of 30 were due to sunbed use. Women were about twice as likely to use sunbeds as men were, and maybe that is also contributing to the different rates we are seeing,” Professor Mann added.
Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Around 3,000 melanoma and 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed across the state each year.
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