Queensland still the skin cancer capital of the world

Cancer Council has issued an urgent warning for Queenslanders to stay vigilant about sun safety, with the Sunshine State still taking out the title as skin cancer capital of the world.

A global study, published this week, found Australia no longer has the highest per capita rates of invasive melanoma in the world – in large part thanks to Cancer Council’s 30 year Slip, Slop, Slap campaign.

Australia now has 48 cases of melanoma per 100,000 people compared to 50 cases per 100,000 in New Zealand.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO said while it was good news, it was not cause for complacency, with Queensland still, by far, the skin cancer capital of the world.

“Queensland has a melanoma incidence rate of 71 cases per 100,000 people (for the years 2009-2013), vastly exceeding rates in all other jurisdictions nationally and internationally,” Prof Dunn said.

“Our climate and demographics make us uniquely vulnerable to skin cancer, necessitating ongoing vigilance in sun protection.

“In fact, melanoma incidence is expected to rise steeply among older people for some time yet, due in large part to skin damage done earlier in life, before our Slip, Slop, Slap campaign began.

“We are, however, seeing ongoing decreases in younger age groups – with rates of melanoma stabilising or declining among younger generations.

“There can be no doubt that this is due to the success of long-term prevention and early detection campaigns, such as Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

“Ending Queensland’s tragic record as the skin cancer capital of the world remains a top priority for Cancer Council Queensland.”

Queenslanders are urged to stay SunSmart as temperatures cool down across the State, with skin damage remaining a risk even in Autumn and Winter.

“It’s imperative that whenever the UV Index level is three or above, Queenslanders follow the five recommended sun protective behaviours,” Prof Dunn said.

Queenslanders should Slip on protective clothing, Slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies when outdoors to best reduce their risk of skin cancer.”

More than 3600 Queenslanders are diagnosed with melanoma each year, and it is estimated that over 350,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are treated.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland, and reducing the risk of skin cancer, is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.


For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171