The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) has partnered with the Cancer Council for National Skin Cancer Action Week which runs from 18 – 24 November. With a hashtag of #OwnYourTone, this year’s campaign focuses on tanning and teenagers with a reminder of sun protection and early skin cancer detection.
In a media release earlier this week, President of the ACD, Dr Andrew Miller said while the message of slip slop, seek and slide is well known, young people often don’t think about the consequences of tanning and are often more concerned with immediate beauty perceptions. “UV damage is cumulative, so tanning in your 20s will show as early aging of your skin in your 30s and increase your chances of skin cancer in your 50s. You are better off embracing your natural skin tone and protecting your skin from the sun.”
Skin Cancer Statistics
We all know that skin cancer is better treated with higher rates of survival when diagnosed as early as possible. However, how many of us have regular skin checks? Did you know that in 2016, 1,281 Australians died from melanoma (863 males and 418 females) and this number is higher for skin cancer. It is estimated that in 2018 approximately 50 in 100,000 Australians will develop the disease. But the most alarming statistic is that two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they are 70. Sunburn causes 95% of melanomas, but a lesser known fact is that tanning beds and Solariums emit UVA and UVB radiation, both being known causes of cancer. Commercial solariums are actually banned in Australia.
President-Elect of the ACD says in the media release, “Dermatologists unfortunately see a huge number of patients with some form of skin cancer. Removing the primary melanoma at the origin will resolve 90 per cent of cases of the disease, which makes early detection and diagnosis absolutely critical.”
You should do regular skin self-checks, but if you have a partner check each other as well. If you see anything suspicious your first point of call is your GP who can then refer you to a dermatologist if they see anything suspicious.
The Cancer Council suggests you become familiar with your skin and be aware of any changes including:
- any crusty, non-healing sores
- small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
- new spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months.
To read more about this issue we suggest you check out the Cancer Council’s website.