Medical: Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer in Australia

Sun Protection

Protect yourself in five ways, with shade, a shirt, a hat, sunglasses and a good sunscreen.

Some Sunscreen Information

  • The maximum SPF of sunscreens sold in Australia is SPF 30+.
  • No sunscreen offers complete protection from UVR.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside
  • Sunscreens can become ineffective if exposed to temperatures over 30C.

Discover more about skin cancer PREVENTION at:

Annual Skin Cancer checks

Most people in Australia will have a skin cancer check carried out a Doctor at least once a year

This is a picture of one of the machines that can be used for this very simple procedure


Digital photographs of any suspicious moles or spots can be recorded on computer, and examined in great detail, and stored until the next check up to compare them and see if anything has changed.


Many people are scared of the skin cancer rates in Australia, but you need to see the facts before worrying over the headlines.

Here are the facts first, then you can read the scary headlines:

There are more skin cancer deaths in the UK than in Australia, even though Australia has more cases of the disease.


Deaths from Skin Cancer

  • Australia = 1,678 deaths from 380,000 + reported cases : 4.4 per 1,000 cases
  • UK = 2,300+ deaths from 72,000 + reported cases : 31.9 per 1,000 cases

Even though the UK has a population 3 times the size of Australia, it does come as a surprise to many people just how many people in the UK actually do die from skin cancer.

Deaths from Malignant cancers of the skin in Australia

Year Malignant
2000 980 362 1,342
2001 1,069 389 1,458
2002 1,055 407 1,462
2003 1,132 395 1,527
2004 1,209 364 1,573
2005 1,273 405 1,678
2006 1,238 410 1,648
2007 1,280 448 1,728
2008 1,436 422 1,858
2009 1,385 452 1,837

According to

Medical Category Advert

There are two main types of skin cancer, and skin cancer is almost totally preventable.

  • malignant melanoma – cancer in moles
  • the non-melanoma group – basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with over 380,000 people diagnosed every year, and over 1,600 deaths from skin cancer each year.

The number of deaths in Australia from skin cancer in 2005 was 1,678

  • 1,273 melanoma
  • 405 non-melanoma skin cancer


However, when compared to the UK… Over 2,300 people die from skin cancer each year in the UK

  • In fact, there are more skin cancer deaths in the UK than in Australia, even though Australia has more cases of the disease.
  • Registration of non-melanoma skin cancer, in the UK, is incomplete.
  • More than 72,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are registered each year but it is estimated that the actual number is at least 100,000 cases in the UK each year.
  • Around 8,900 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in the UK.
  • The number of cases has almost tripled since the early 80s.


Final Numbers comparison

Deaths, Incidents and Population

  • Australia: 1,678 deaths, 400,000 incidents, 20.3m population (2005)
  • UK: 2,300 deaths, 100,000 incidents, 60.2m population (2005)

Deaths per million population

  • Australia: 8.27 deaths per million population.
  • UK: 3.82 deaths per million population.

Skin Cancer incidents per million population.

  • Australia: 19,704 incidents per million population.
  • UK: 1661 incidents per million population.

Deaths per 1,000 Skin Cancer incidents

  • Australia: 4 Deaths per 1,000 incidents.
  • UK: 23 Deaths per 1,000 incidents.
Why the lower number of Deaths, per 1,000 cases of skin cancer, in Australia ?
  • Because most people have an annual skin check to try to detect sun cancer early, and then have it treated before it becomes a major problem.
May 2010 Update

Figures from Cancer Research UK show a steep increase in deaths from malignant melanoma.

Over 1,100 (3.1 per 100,000) men have died from Melanoma, with the figure of 2.2 per 100,000 for women,

Comparing these recent figures to the earlier statement; “Over 2,300 people die from skin cancer each year in the UK” seems to indicate a lower figure now, than when the original figures were issued.

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