According to research undertaken by the Cancer Council the overall five year survival rate for those diagnosed with melanoma currently sits at around 90% in Australia.
The research indicated that the survival rate varies depending on gender, age and size of tumour as highlighted below.
The survival rate for women sat at 94% versus 88% for men. 67% of Australians who die from skin cancer are men.
The survival rate for those under the age of 40 is 95%, compared with 80% for those aged 80 years and over.
The five year survival rate for small tumours (less than 1mm) was 100%, but only 54% for tumours thicker than 4mm.
The survival rate is impacted to a large degree by the stage of detection.
Tumours which are identified early can often be treated effectively. If they are detected at a later, the survival rate falls significantly as highlighted above.
It is worth noting that the survival rates in Australia where this research was undertaken is higher than in most other countries because of the level of education about skin cancer, culture of self examination and getting regular skin checks.
Perhaps not surprising the higher skin cancer mortality rate for men reflects the general behavioural trait of men not getting checked as regularly as women.
To put these statistics into perspective around 12,000 people a year will be diagnosed with melanoma every year in Australia, whereas around 1,000,000 per annum will be diagnosed and treated with a non-melanoma skin cancer.
Skin cancer accounts for 80% of all cancers detected in Australia.
Around 2,000 people a year die from skin cancer in Australia. Around 75% of the deaths will be melanoma related and the remaining 25% non-melanoma related. Whilst the deadliest form of skin cancer is melanoma, it would be wrong to think that a non-melanoma skin cancer cannot be deadly.
Skin cancer is caused bycumulative exposure to ultra-violet (UV) light. Dermatologists recommend UPF50+ sun protective clothing as the best preventative measure against skin cancer.
Solbari, Australian UPF50+ Sun Protection offers a range of award-winning sun protective clothing, sun-hats, arm sleeves, umbrellas and other accessories.
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On diagnosis, I was concerned as I did not know anything about skin cancers & did not think that I would be the victim of this disease. I was reassured that BCC was quite common & relatively easily treatable.
“In July 2020, I noticed a tiny lump on my ear lobe. In Jan 2021, a friend noticed the lump and suggested I see a specialist. I saw a skin cancer specialist, who removed it and sent it off for a biopsy. 5 days later, the doctor called and said, "you have a level 4 melanoma".”
Hi, I’m Dr Ryan de Cruz. I’m a Consultant Dermatologist and Director of Southern Dermatology in Melbourne, Australia. With this week being Men’s Health Week, I’m here to talk about skin cancer in men, and what we can do to encourage the men in our lives to be more sun-safe.