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Tanning loses its lustre

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Tanning loses its lustre

Melanoma March raises vital research funds to help save lives.

Melanoma Institute Australia’s (MIA) co-medical directors and 2024 Australians of the Year Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer are urging Australians to join the national Melanoma March campaign.

Now in its 13th year, the campaign raises vital research funds.

The pair have added their voices to calls to stop the glamorisation of tanning.

“There is nothing healthy about a tan. Nothing. Our bronzed Aussie culture is actually killing us,” Professor Long says.

Professor Scolyer adds: “Imagine the outcry if smoking was still glamorised like this. We must elevate sun safety to equal status as other life-saving safety measures like seatbelts and helmets.”

Family-friendly events will be held across the country this month, with registrations at melanomamarch.org.au.

This year’s campaign aims to shine a spotlight on the dangers of tanning and the need for greater investment in national prevention strategies. Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world. One person is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes. One person dies from the disease every six hours. It is the most-common cancer affecting 20-year-old Australians.

“Changing attitudes towards tanning and improving the community’s understanding about prevention, early detection and year-round sun safety is crucial to stopping more lives being cut short by melanoma,” MIA CEO Matthew Browne says.

Those who can’t attend an event can  get active and host a March Your Way activity with friends or individually.

This year’s Sunshine Coast Melanoma March returns to Alexandra Headland on March 24 and kicks off at 4.30pm. To register, go to sunshinecoast.melanomamarch.org.au.

Did you know?

  • Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of melanoma, with more than 17,700 Australians estimated to have been diagnosed in 2022 alone.
  • The disease represents the third-most-commonly diagnosed cancer, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young Australians aged 20-39 years.
  • Tragically, one Australian is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes, while another surrenders their life to the disease every six hours.
  • While the majority of melanomas can be treated successfully with surgery if diagnosed early, estimates reveal that in 2022, melanoma was associated with 1281 deaths in Australia.

Prevention and early detection are vital

Prevention and early detection are the key to stopping harm from melanoma.

Dr Simon Hardy, from Sunlife Skin Cancer Care Centre shares his top tips:

  1. Check your own skin, including the back, every one to two months. If there is anything sore, changing, abnormal or new and not resolving over five to six weeks, get it looked at by a skin cancer doctor.
  2. Get a skin check. A thorough skin check with a doctor trained in dermoscopy is a good way to find small skin cancers early. If you have had any skin cancer before, this should be at least every year.
  3. Imaging. For those with a high risk of melanoma, such as having many moles on your skin, a significant personal or family history of melanoma, or repeated significant sunburns, 3D Total Body Photography allows accurate monitoring to identify new or changing lesions early.

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