Oldies Not Heeding the Message

A report out next month shows that melanoma rates in Queensland are the highest in the country and there’s big increases in cases within the older demographic.

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The latest data found in Queensland Health’s 2018 Health of Queensland Report, set to be released in a couple of weeks shows over the past decade melanoma cases have increased by 13% for 45-64-year-olds and by 27% for those aged 65 years and older.

Executive Director, Preventative Health Branch, Kaye Pulsford says alarmingly in the last 12 months an estimated 2.1 million adults and 394,000 children have been sunburnt.

“While we are seeing a decline in melanoma incidence rate in young people aged 15-29 (declined by 23%) it is still the most common new cancer diagnosed in this age group and the second most common cancer for people aged 30-44.”

“Sunscreen use has reduced skin cancer numbers by only 10-15% so we know there is still more room to improve.”

“Living in a climate like Queensland sun protection behaviours are always required as UVR levels are moderate to extreme year-round.”

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan says it’s imperative Queenslanders protect themselves from skin damage, particularly coming into summer.

“Anyone can be at risk of developing melanoma if they aren’t protecting their skin, even those with darker skin-tones.”

“Sun protection is needed when the UV index is three or above – in Queensland, this is every day.”

Using a combination of protective measures to stay safe when outdoors is the recommendation for this summer, such as slipping on protective clothing, slopping on SPF30+ water resistant sunscreen, slapping on a broad brimmed hat, seeking shade where possible and sliding on sunglasses that meet the Australian standard of protection.

Queenslanders are also encouraged to get to know their skin, and to see their GP if they notice any changes to pre-existing moles or freckles or new spots appearing.