We’re often asked by parents and grandparents what they can do to protect their children’s skin from the risks of skin cancer. Many parents, particularly if they’ve had a skin cancer scare themselves, might think that keeping their children inside, hiding from the sun is the answer.
“Tall and tan and young and lovely. The girl from Ipanema goes walking and When she passes, each one she passes goes ‘ah’…”. Yes, they’re the opening words from the immensely popular 60’s hit, The girl from Ipanema. And although everything 60s-70’s is currently ‘new’ again, a suntan on someone young and lovely most definitely is not.
While all melanoma is serious, the majority of it can be treated simply by surgically removing the offending spot. But every now and again, a patient might be diagnosed with a serious invasive melanoma cancer for which the treatment is likely to be considerably more involved than just simple surgery.
Two in three Aussies likely to be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the time they’re 70 years of age. That makes it seem like Australia is in the grip of what looks like a skin cancer epidemic. I even read somewhere (although I cannot find the reference for the life of me today) that skin cancer rates have increased by almost 80% over the last 25 years.
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.
Most of us have this idea that life’s bad stuff happens to other people. So receiving news of a melanoma diagnosis could be a bit of a shock. Even if you’d noticed that spot and had some suspicions about what it might be.