Australian news, and some related international items

Another reminder about ultra violet radiation and skin cancer

UV-radiationSunscreen, skin cancer and the Australian summer, The Conversation, 23 Jan 13,  With the long, hot Australian summer comes the imperative to manage the country’s enormous skin cancer risk.Along with the growing raw numbers (11,545 skin cancer cases diagnosed in 2009) and rates of melanoma, the numbers of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) are going off the charts. Men are disproportionately affected, with one in 14 blokes diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 85, compared with one in 23 women.

Two months ago the Medical Journal of Australia reported the total number of NMSC treatments increased from 412,493 in 1997 to 767,347 in 2010, and the authors estimated the number of treatments would increase to 938,991 by 2015.

The costs estimate – which I understand doesn’t include the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses – was over half a billion dollars in 2010. This is an enormous health burden unique to Australia and our friends across the Tasman…..

The Nambour study conducted in South East Queensland in the early 1990s found the use of sunscreen (then the old SPF15+) reduced the risk of squamous cell carcinomas (the second most common non-melanoma skin cancer) by 12% andmelanoma by about half.

So, as we get closer to seeing SPF50+ sunscreen land on the shelves of our local shops remember the famous all-encompassing 1998 life advice speech of disputed origins“Wear sunscreen” – and heed the advice. It’s still a good tip.

Here are a few other simple sunscreen tips:

  1. Sunscreen shouldn’t be used as the first and last defence against the sun. Don’t forget the other “S”s – Slip on a Shirt, Slap on a Hat, Seek some shade and Slide on your sunnies…..

January 24, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health

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