Australia is second in the world for most new skin cancer cases, according to the Skin Cancer Index 2018
‘I love a sunburnt country.’
The quintessential Australian poem has never been more apt, as the latest Skin Cancer Index reveals 12,265 new melanoma cases are diagnosed in Australia every year.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which usually occurs on the parts of the body that have been overexposed to the sun.
It is the third most common cancer in Australian men and women, according to the Melanoma Institute Australia, and is considered the most serious form of skin cancer.
Australia’s skin cancer incidence score is 9.67, according to the index, while New Zealand ranks the highest in the world for new cases of skin cancer by population with score of 10.
Derma.plus says it developed the study to better understand the geographical and geopolitical factors which make skin cancer incidences more common, and sometimes deadly, in certain regions over others.
“Incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has increased dramatically over the past decades,” says Professor Dietrich Abeck, Chief Medical Advisor for derma.plus.
“This study is indicative that a high level of UV exposure, coupled with a lighter skin tone (as calculated by the Fitzpatrick-Scale) led to a higher diagnosis of skin cancer.”
“However on the other hand, the index reveals that countries such as New Zealand and Australia, which have some of the highest incidences of skin cancer, also have some of the lowest death rates due to high levels of health expenditure.”
For example, Sweden had a high incidence score of 5.79 (ranking fourth in the world) but its total mortality rate was 17%.
Meanwhile Nigeria had the least access to skin cancer treatment, with an incidence score of just 1.02 but a total mortality rate of 67%.
Bangladesh had the lowest amount of new cases with a score of 1, despite a high average UV Factor of 7.54.
“Although the rate at which skin cancer occurs may be high in countries with a combination of light skin tone and high UV exposure, adequate health care spending appears to be effective in keeping the mortality rate lower than in countries with fewer diagnoses and less funding for skin cancer prevention,” says derma.plus.
The Australian numbers seem to have lowered slightly since 2013, when more than 12,700 cases of melanoma were reported.
See more about preventing melanoma here
See more about the index here