Our friends at Melanoma New Zealand launched their annual melanoma awareness campaign, Get Spotted, on Monday and it's a good reminder to be sun smart this summer.
Get Spotted runs from September 20-October 1 and encourages individuals, businesses, schools and friends to wear spotty clothes, or any other fun activities, and posting photos or videos on their Facebook or Instagram pages. Tag them in and use the hashtag #getspotted to win some great ‘spot prizes’.
If you can throw in a ‘spot’ of fundraising too, they’d be really grateful as well.
On top of that, Melanoma New Zealand are also running a colouring competition, wordsearch and scavenger hunt with some great prizes up for grabs. They're not just for the kids and are a great way to keep busy if you're in lockdown.
Melanoma New Zealand champion the prevention, detection and treatment of melanoma for all New Zealanders. They provide the public and patients with information about all aspects of melanoma, encourages sun-smart behaviour, promote regular skin checks for early detection, and provide patient support, including advocating for increased access to clinical care.
- NZ has the worst rate of melanoma in the world - around 10 times the global average
- Nearly 7000 melanomas are diagnosed in NZ each year (around 18 a day)
- More than 300 die from skin cancer in NZ each year (higher than our road toll)
- Men are twice as likely to die from melanoma than women (but we are all at risk)
- The most common place on a man is on their torso (can be harder to spot it on your back), women is on their calf
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer in both men and women (behind bowel cancer, and either prostate cancer for men or breast cancer for women)
- In 2018, there were nearly 300,000 new cases of melanoma globally
- Most skin cancers are preventable
- If recognised and treated early enough, melanoma is almost always curable
What are some risk factors of melanoma?
- The degree of risk can vary depending on your skin type, but everyone is at risk no matter what colour their skin (Bob Marley died of metastatic melanoma in his toenail. He was only 36 years old). If you tend to burn in the sun, you are more at risk than people who don’t. Maori and Pacific people may have a lower chance of getting melanoma, but they often have thicker more aggressive melanomas and can have poorer outcomes
- 70% of melanomas occur in the over 50s
- If you have had melanoma before, you are more likely to get another one
- The more moles you have, the higher risk (most people average around 20-50 moles).
- If you have a family history of melanoma
- A history of sunburn – especially in your childhood – can lead to melanoma later in life.
- Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma
- Sunbed use
- If you are immune-suppressed (eg HIV, leukaemia or if you are an organ transplant recipient)
- Some medications make you more sensitive to UV light increasing your risk also
Melanoma New Zealand recommend you to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide this summer.