“Unfortunately, rates of melanoma are still increasing in people over the age of about 50.” QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute study leader Professor David Whiteman
Australia no longer has the highest rate of deadly skin cancers in the world, ceding the title to New Zealand, thanks in large part to the success of decades of public health campaigns.
Researchers from Brisbane’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute have found that Australia’s per capita rates of invasive melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are on the decline and expected to fall further over the next 15 years.
Professor David Whiteman said of the six nations covered by the research, Australia was the only country to record a fall in melanoma rates and attributed the result to the success of public health campaigns since the 1980s. The decline had apparently only occurred among those under the age of about 50. “Unfortunately, rates of melanoma are still increasing in people over the age of about 50,” he said.
So while per capita rates are falling, the overall number of cases of invasive melanoma is still rising, due to population growth and an ageing population.
Australia’s per capita invasive melanoma rate peaked at around 49 cases per 100,000 people in 2005 but that had dropped back to 48 cases per 100,000 by 2011, while New Zealand’s rate had climbed to 50 cases per 100,000.
By 2013, the researchers estimate Australia’s per capita rate will have fallen to 41 per 100,000.
– Public Health, Medical Republic April 2016.