A new, landmark report from Melanoma Institute Australia has found that melanoma rates are rising. It estimates that without critical action, by 2030 a further 205,000 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma and 18,000 will die from the disease within five years of diagnosis.
The State of The Nation report - which predicted the economic cost from this "national health priority" to be $8.7 billion - stressed the need for increased medical training in skin cancer diagnosis to improve early detection and survival rates.
It provided a roadmap towards the Institute’s goal of zero deaths from melanoma, including:
- the implementation of a national melanoma prevention and awareness strategy,
- investment in research,
- improved sun safety in schools and on sporting fields,
- better access to trained professionals in skin cancer diagnosis, and
- improvements in early detection and targeted screening.
Since more Australians died from melanoma than in road accidents in 2021, the report highlighted that is essential for all primary care doctors to have vital skills in skin cancer detection.
Patients can face very long wait lists and high expenses to see a specialist dermatologist, and can wait several months for potentially life-saving diagnosis and treatment in the public hospital system.
One Australian loses their life to melanoma every five hours, yet ninety-nine per cent of skin cancers are curable if detected and treated early - if the medical practitioner has the appropriate knowledge to do so.
Read the recent State of the Nation report here.