Cancer Awareness

It is vitally important to take care of your skin the same way you would feed your body the right foods and exercise.

Skin cancers are diagnosed in Australia more than all other types of cancers combined, and over 2000 people die each year from them. Australia’s rate of skin cancer is around 10 times the average in the rest of the world. It is our national cancer. Queensland’s rate is even higher than the rest of Australia.

The people most likely to be affected are those born in or before the 1960s, who did not benefit from the widespread health campaign to “Slip Slop Slap”, which started in the early 1980s. High levels of sun exposure in childhood, teenage and early adulthood is the best predictor of future skin cancers. Those who migrated to Australia (or Queensland, from a cooler part or Australia), after the age of 30 are much less likely to have problems with this disease. Those who worked outdoors for a major part of their working life are highly likely to be affected. People of Scottish, Irish, Dutch and English heritage are much more likely to have problems with lower levels of exposure, while those with darker skin are relatively unscathed despite higher doses of sunlight.

The second most common cause for skin cancer is exposure to arsenic (especially in sheep dip), which gives sheep farmers even more problems than the rest of the population.

Melanoma is the most dangerous of the common types of skin cancer, accounting for most of the 2000 deaths each year in this country. Early detection is the most important factor in improving the survival rate of this type of cancer, as the depth of the melanoma when removed determines its future potential for harm. Over recent years doctors have become more adept at diagnosing these cancers at an earlier stage and people are more aware of new or changing moles on their bodies, so at least 90% of people have no further problems with their melanoma once removed.

At Bribie Island Skin Cancer Clinic, over 700 cancers are removed per month, with around 10 of these being melanomas. We have seen over 20,000 people since opening in 2004. Many of the local doctors send people to us when they are uncertain about a possible cancer on the skin, or when more difficult surgery is required. Over 98% of cancers are able to be treated in the clinic without need for further travel.

If you are over 50, have celtic ancestry, had an outdoor occupation, or have previously had a skin cancer removed, or have something on your skin which concerns you, I would recommend your visiting the clinic. It is open 8am-4.30pm Monday to Friday and is located at 9/19 Benabrow Avenue, on the first roundabout after crossing the bridge to the island.

Please phone Peter Norton on 3408 6699.