Almost half of all young Australians, aged between 18-34, are not aware that melanoma is the most common cancer of their age group.
In a poll conducted by the MIA, four out of 10 young Australians confessed to never having a skin check by a health professional.
The survey also found that an alarming 21 per cent of the group believed that repeated use of sunscreen was detrimental to their health.
To address the on-going issue, the MIA with the support of Surf Life Saving Australia has launched a new awareness campaign – Watch Your Mate’s Back.
Their mantra – prevent, detect, act.
The campaign aims to educate all Australians and particularly the young how important it is to protect yourself from the sun, and to stress the importance of encouraging friends and family to do the same.
And while melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and Australia’s third most common cancer in men and women – it takes a life every six hours – it is one of the easiest to prevent and detect. For more details on what to look for check out this handy video and prevention tool.
Melanoma expert, Professor John Thompson, says checking your own skin is one of the most effective ways of detecting melanoma.
“We all need to watch for skin lesions that change in size, shape or colour, develop an irregular border, became itchy or repeatedly bleed,” he says.
But he also says a quarter of melanomas are detected by someone other than the person with the melanoma.
So if you see something, say something… it could be the difference between life and death.
By Kirsty Holyman