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Qld melanoma rate predicted to rise

AAP logoAAP 19/11/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Melanoma rates could rise by more than 42 per cent in a decade if Queenslanders fail to make sun protection a priority, the Cancer Council has warned.

The organisation has used current figures to predict that if trends continue, the number of people diagnosed with invasive melanoma will rise from 3600 in 2013 to 5100 in 2025.

The Sunshine State already has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and one in 14 residents are likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their lifetime.

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Nicole Border said many of those cases could be prevented.

"While an expected increasing and ageing population remains a driver of predicted increase in new melanomas, sun protection measures continue to play a major role in preventing the disease," she said.

Only 35 per cent of Queensland adults used sunscreen when exposed to the sun on weekends, research has shown.

The Cancer Council said the daily use of sunscreen could reduce the risk of melanoma by up to 75 per cent.

"Sun exposure and sunburn are strong predictors of melanoma, no matter where you live in Queensland," Ms Border said.

Close to 400 people die from skin cancers in Queensland every year.

In July, a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare laid bare the disproportionately high number of cases in Queensland compared to the rest of Australia.

The study showed the state had the highest age-standardised rate of melanoma between 2005 and 2009.

There was some positive news - the report also suggested the melanoma rate had dropped and the chances of survival had improved for people under 40.

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