RURAL men are at highest risk of developing melanomas, according to new statistics.
Published by the Cancer Council Victoria, the figures showed the incidence of melanoma among men in rural areas of Victoria was a third higher than men in the city.
The figures, which were compiled in 2008, revealed there were 39 cases of melanoma recorded for every 100,000 men living in regional Victoria, compared with 29 for men in metropolitan and suburban areas.
The regional rate for women was 33 per 100,000, compared with 23 for their metropolitan counterparts.
The council’s SunSmart program manager, Sue Heward, said the data showed how rural Australia was a hotbed for melanoma, and how protection from the sun was “crucial at any age”.
“People should not be fooled into thinking that it is too late or that all the damage has already been done,” Ms Heward said.
Sandra Rowan, NSW Far North Coast spokeswoman for the Cancer Council, said that between 2004 and 2008 there were 1400 cases of melanoma diagnosed in the region.
“The Far North Coast has the highest incidence of melanoma in the State,” she said.
“Studies like these are a good reminder for everyone to check their skin on a regular basis and to slip-slop-slap when they are out in the sun, and to follow up any suspicious spots with their GP.”
Latest national figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show more than 10,000 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma every year, of which men account for around 60%.
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