Controlling the Australian Melanoma Epidemic

  • Melanoma is a serious, often fatal form of skin cancer.
  • Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence rates of melanoma in the world, and it could justifiably be regarded as an epidemic (particularly in older men).
  • The lifetime risk of melanoma in Australia (to age 85) is now 1 in 13 for men and 1 in 21 for women.
  • Both in Australia and worldwide, the melanoma incidence in fair-skinned races has been increasing steadily for more than 30 years, with lifestyle changes the most likely reason.

Efforts to control the melanoma epidemic and its impact on individuals and society (by causing death) are proceeding on several fronts:

  • Primary prevention – The “Slip,Slop, Slap” campaign (Clothing, sunscreen, shade), lifestyle modification (e.g.banning of solaria)
  • Early diagnosis – Better education of doctors and the population at large.
  • Effective initial treatment (surgical)– National evidence-based guidelines (Cancer Council Australia and Melanoma Institute Australia) available on Cancer Council Australia website: https://wiki.cancer.org.au/australia/Guidelines:Melanoma
  • “Adjuvant” drug therapy – for high-risk patients
  • Better drugs for advanced disease– when melanoma has spread to distant sites
  • Ongoing basic research, translational research and clinical trials

Controlling the Australian Melanoma Epidemic

Lecture by:
John Thompson AO
Emeritus Professor of Melanoma and Surgical Oncology, University of Sydney; Senior Surgeon, Melanoma Institute Australia
20
Feb 2020
6:30pm
Mittagong RSL