Skin Checks

By the time Australians reach the age of 70, 2 out of 3 will have had a skin cancer

Over the past decades, the incidence of skin cancer has risen in Australia. From 1982 to 2007 melanoma diagnoses increased by around 50%. From 1998 to 2007, GP consultations to treat non-melanoma skin cancer increased by 14%, to reach 950,000 visits each year.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women. Over 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year. In 2011, 543 people died from non-melanoma skin cancers.

Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma is the third most common cancer in both Australian women and men, and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years. In 2009, more than 11,500 people in Australia were diagnosed with melanoma and in 2011, 1,544 people died due to melanoma. The five-year relative survival rate for melanoma is 90% for Australian men and 94% for Australian women.

More than 2000 Australians died from skin cancer in 2011.

GPs remove more skin cancers than any other medical practitioners. Everyone over the age of 50 should have annual skin examinations.

Dr Peter Enten has completed additional training through Peter Mac Callum Cancer Centre as well as the University of Queensland in the diagnosis and excision of skin cancers.