Melanoma stats the dark side to tan

The Cancer Council says there is no safe level of sun baking over summer.
The Cancer Council says there is no safe level of sun baking over summer.

STATISTICS don’t lie when it comes to sun cancer.

That’s the fact The Cancer Institute of NSW has rolled out again this year as we head to the beach this summer.

Launching its “The Dark Side of Tanning” campaign, the institute released alarming skin cancer statistics to hit home the sun safe message.

The institute said that one in 13 males and one in 24 females on the Coffs Coast were likely to develop potentially deadly melanoma before their 85th birthday.

Cancer Prevention manager Anita Dessaix said the latest NSW figures show that sun protection must remain a top priority for all Australians.

“If people haven’t already begun to think about the damage sun is doing to their skins, they need to start now,” Ms Dessaix said.

Since the Dark Side of Tanning campaign first aired, the institute said there had been a nine per cent decline in so called “pro-tan” attitudes in NSW.

“The advertisement graphically illustrates how a deadly melanoma smaller than a pin head can spread throughout the body.

“What people fail to realise is that damage to the skin can happen even before the skin starts to show signs of burning.

“If not detected and treated early, a melanoma no deeper than a millimetre can become an extremely deadly disease, spreading and infecting other organs.”

Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in the state and the number one cancer detected in men aged 25 to 54 and women aged 15 to 29.

In 2008, 343 NSW residents lost their lives to melanoma.

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