Cancer Australia reports that skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, with over 1.7 million cases diagnosed each year.
We live in an amazing climate for enjoying the outdoors, however the latest research finds that rates of common cancers are increasing by 2 to 6% a year¹.
What is a common cancer?
- BCC – Basel cell carcinoma
- SCC- Squamous cell carcinoma
These are non-melanoma cancers; however, can still be harmful and early detection is still the key for a positive outcome.
The good news about BCC’s is that they do grow slowly and account for the largest number of common cancers in Australia². However, SCC’s grow rapidly so regular checks are vital. Both skin cancer types are of concern if left untreated.
SCC’s can be deadly > Over 500 Aussies die from a SCC annually
What can you do to protect yourself?
There should be no surprises here, it’s all about sensible sun exposure as skin cancer usually occurs in parts of the body over exposed to the sun³:
- Consider the UV index when going outdoors and act accordingly. There are many ways to seek cover, such as trees, buildings, sun tents or simply carry and umbrella.
- Wear a hat
- Wear sunnies – preferably wrap around ones. The sun can cause damage to your eyes too.
- Wear protective clothing
- Wear high SPF sunscreen
The good news is that this is a disease that you can often SEE.
One of the simple and effective ways to protect yourself is to check your skin!
Self-checking is recommended every couple of months. If anything changes or is new, seek medical help promptly.
An annual skin check is an important way to ensure you are in the clear and have peace of mind. GP’s are highly qualified to perform skin checks. Many have completed additional training in dermoscopy and have a special interest in skin cancer medicine & surgery. This is a readily accessible service for you.
A word on Melanoma
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It is less common but much more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) because of its ability to spread to other organs rapidly if it is not treated at an early stage.
Melanoma of the skin was the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2018. It is estimated to become the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2022.
In 2018, there were 15,346 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in Australia (8,941 males and 6,403 females). In 2022, it is estimated that 17,756 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Australia (10,374 males and 7,382 females). A person has a 1 in 17 (or 5.8%) risk of being diagnosed with melanoma of the skin by the age of 85 (1 in 14 or 6.9% for males and 1 in 21 or 4.7% for females).
Melanomas can present in many shapes, sizes and colours. That’s why it’s important to detect it early as it is usually curable when detected and treated early
If you haven’t had a skin check in the last year, why not schedule an appointment while it’s top of mind.