In the last blog you might recall, looked at why the rates of skin cancer have increased. And as I wove my way through the research, I came across a number of really interesting statistics that I thought I should share. Brace yourself, some of them might be a bit scary.
Skin cancer causes more deaths than transport accidents every year in Australia.
Yes, you read that right. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (in 2016), more people die from skin cancer than in road accidents each year. And yet, each year, Australians routinely book themselves wonderful trips to bake their bodies on the sand. Yet we have police campaigns every holiday break to try to keep us safer in our cars. Something to think about, huh!
Skin cancer incidence and mortality skews male.
The risk is higher in men than in women (70% vs. 58% cumulative risk of non-melanoma skin cancer before age 70; 60 vs. 39 age-standardised incidence rate of melanoma.) The risk of mortality is also higher for men – 67% of Australians who die from skin cancer are men. When it comes to melanoma, the risk for men is even higher. Men have a 1 in 14 risk of being diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 85, based on 2011 AIHW figures. whereas Australian women have a 1 in 24 chance of being diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 85. The differences between men and women are also observable in relation to mortality. Overall, Australians have a 1 in 129 chance of dying from melanoma by age 85 – men have a 1 in 84 chance and women a 1 in 240 chance.
Not that ladies can really breathe a sigh of relief on this one because they’re still at risk – although it is considerably less. However, if you are a man, are married to a man, have male children or know a great man – beg them to get an annual skin cancer check. And whilst you’re thinking about it for them, book one for you too.
The rates of melanoma incidence are likely to increase
But only until 2020 when the effects of decades of skin cancer awareness and sun protection programs are likely to kick in as is the reduced impact of solarium use. .
If you’re 65 or over and you’ve not had a skin cancer check yet, you’re well overdue.
Melanoma survival rates are determined by tumour thickness.
Although survival rate post-treatment of melanoma was high overall (thank goodness), it varied considerably by tumour thickness. The five-year survival was almost 100% for small tumours (1mm or less), but sadly, only 54% for large tumours thicker than 4mm. (AIHW http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129555786.) What that means is that the sooner and more regularly someone gets their skin checked (and if you notice any changes on a freckle, mole, lump, etc), the earlier something more sinister is found and dealt with before it has a chance to reach a depth of 1mm.
But as with all things prevention is better than cure – so that makes the next of our skin cancer statistics my favourite.
95% of all melanoma and skin cancers are caused by sunburn.
Which means that you can help prevent it from occurring in the first place in your children, grandchildren and you can guard against your skin suffering further any damage.
In Australia, 1 in 8 adults and 1 in 5 teenagers are sunburnt on an average weekend
That’s every summer. Those sunburns occur when they are taking part in water sports and activities at the beach or a pool, as well gardening or having a barbeque.
Yes, it’s winter at the moment, so you might think that protecting your skin from the sun isn’t necessary. However, sunburn is also common on cooler or overcast days, as many people mistakenly believe UV radiation is not as strong. That’s just not true. You can still be sunburnt when the temperature outside is cooler. And we do have many wonderful Winter days in Australia. (http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html)
So if it’s been a while since you had a check up or if you’ve never had one,
Winter is the perfect time to schedule one. Of course, if you suspect a spot on your body might be skin cancer, please get it checked out as soon as possible. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the earlier treatment can begin and the better the outcomes. You can call us on 9999 0336 (Northern Beaches clinic) or 9223 1608 (Sydney City clinic) or you can pop your details in the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly with our next available appointment.
Building Q1, Level 2, Suite 9, 4 Daydream St, Warriewood
Appointment availability: Monday – Friday
Appointment times: 8.30am-5.00pm
Phone: 02 9999 0336
Fax: 02 9999 0337
L16, 109 Pitt St, Sydney
Appointment availability: Tuesday & Thursday
Appointment times: 8.30am-6.00pm
Phone: 02 92231608