Skin Cancer

Approximately 450000 Australians are treated for skin cancer each year. It kills 1600 Australians every year of which 1200 are due to melanoma.

The majority of these deaths are preventable. Malignant melanoma is a deadly skin cancer if not treated early, and because it spreads rapidly, accounts for 1200 of these annual deaths. The remaining 400 deaths result from the more common types of cancer when they have grown too large and/or have spread throughout the body.

Many hundreds of Australians need not die every year.

Exposure to sunlight especially in childhood and adolescence is the number one factor in causing skin cancer.

A history of severe sunburn increases the risk of developing melanoma, and long-term sun exposure increases the risks of both non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma.

Fair skinned Australians are in the highest risk group of developing skin cancers, but Australians with olive complexions are certainly not immune to the problem.

Other statistics:

  • Residents of Queensland, Western Australia, NSW and Tasmania face the highest risk of developing Melanoma, followed by ACT, Victoria, South Australia and Northern Territory.
  • Males are marginally more likely to develop Melanoma than females in Australia, but for both sexes this equals approximately 10% of all newly diagnosed cancers each year.
  • The incidence of newly diagnosed Melanoma is rising worldwide

For information regarding the different types of skin cancer please click here, or see individual skin cancer types:

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Fact Sheet Library

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

    BCCs are the most commonly seen form of skin cancer.

    view fact sheet
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

    The second most common skin cancer, it is often rapidly growing and may spread to other parts of the...

    view fact sheet