Highest risk of non-melanoma skin cancer

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A LANDMARK study has revealed that one particular demographic are at the highest risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Kara Vickery
The Courier-MailOCTOBER 16, 20171:01AM

Maja Jelisic and Dunja Causevic show how it’s done to prevent skin cancer. Picture: AAPSource:News Corp Australia

A QUEENSLAND man in his middle years or older is the most likely person in Australia to be diagnosed with skin cancer, research has found.

A landmark study from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, released today, has shown men aged 55 or over from the Sunshine State are at the highest risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.

The study of more than 1.7 million Australians also found a whopping 7 per cent of Australians over the age of 20 had a skin cancer cut out between 2011 and 2014, of which nearly 3 per cent had more than one cancer removed.

QIMR Berghofer cancer control group leader David Whiteman said the study should act as a reminder to policy makers and the general public of the importance of sun protection.

Professor David Whiteman is a specialist in sun safety. Picture: Russell Shakespeare

Professor David Whiteman is a specialist in sun safety. Picture: Russell ShakespeareSource:News Corp Australia

“It is a reminder that skin cancer is really common and it is going to become more common,” he said.

“And it is a reminder also that it is non-trivial.

“Many people tend to think, ‘Oh, it is just a small little skin cancer, it can be excised’. But when you add that up for the entire population, it accounts for hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditure.”

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found the rate of skin cancer treatment in Queensland was nearly twice the national average and nearly three times that of Victoria and Tasmania.

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University of the Sunshine Coast professor of cancer prevention Michael Kimlin said the study shows the cancer burden in sunnier states was much higher than in other areas.

Bruce Armstrong, a professor with the University of Western Australia and the University of Sydney, said the research was the first “credible indication of how large the burden of multiple (non-melanoma) cancers of the skin (is)”.

“While just over half of people who had any (non-melanoma) cancers removed in 2011 to 2014 had only one removed, about 20 per cent had two removed, 10 per cent had three removed, 5 per cent had four removed, 3 per cent had five removed and so on,” he said.

“Some people had more than 20 removed. And the older you are, the worse it gets.”

Originally published as The Aussies most at risk from skin cancer

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