Australian Men Are At a Higher Risk of Skin Cancer

When did the last time you have your skin checked? Perhaps not everyone
has concerns about checking their skin health. If you live in a place with
great exposure to sunlight, you may need to check your skin health
regularly. Your place could be a place with high UV radiation. World
Cancer Research Fund reported that Australia has the highest rate of skin
cancer in the world, in 2018. At least about 2 in 3 Australians will be
diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. The high rate of skin
cancer is a combination of a predominantly fair-skinned population and
excessive exposure to UV radiation. The regional and remote areas’ risks
are higher than in significant urban areas.

There are two types of skin cancer; Melanoma and Non-Melanocytic Skin
Cancer (NMSC). Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer type that is
commonly diagnosed in Australia. Non-Melanocytic refers to all the types
of skin cancer but melanoma and it is treatable. Surveys have found that
the NMSC survival rate is excellent. In 2016, 14,485 cases of melanoma
were recorded and 1,415 deaths in 2019 were reported due to melanoma.
While for Non-Melanocytic Skin Cancer cases in total was 959,243 and
the mortality was recorded 678.

Men are at a higher risk than women (70% vs 58% cumulative risk of
Non-Melanocytic Skin Cancer before age 70). Men also have a higher risk
of mortality. About 67% of Australians who die from skin cancer are men.
The estimated death rate for men and women in 2020 was 6.1 and 2.8 per
100,000. Skin cancer causes a larger number of deaths than transport
accidents every year in Australia.

Based on The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, 9.2% of
people diagnosed with melanoma are aged under 40 years; 11.2% are aged
between 40-49 years; 18.4% are aged 50-59 years; 24.4% are aged 60-69; 20.4% are aged 70-79 and 16.3% are aged 80 or older. The mean age for
melanoma diagnosis is 63 years among men and 60 years among women.
According to the Cancer Epidemiology Centre at Cancer Council Victoria,
Australian survival rates from melanoma are generally higher than in other
countries due to the high proportion of thin lesions. Melanoma awareness
and earlier detection can make the survival rates higher.