Lack of data impedes sun-safety message

A review of studies to date on non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in Australia, led by the Melbourne University professor, has confirmed the country leads the world in the incidence and prevalence of NMSC, with the cost in dollar terms rising steeply.

The cost including diagnosis, treatment and pathology will exceed $700 million in 2015, up 40% from $511 million in 2010, he said.

“The cost is going up by $50 million a year, largely because we have more people living to old age, and the older people are the pre-SunSmart, baby-oiled baby boomers who are getting 5–10 skin cancers a year,” Professor Sinclair told MO.

The good news is that the cost has plateaued for patients in the under-60 age group and is declining among Australians younger than 45.

SunSmart campaigns encouraging people to avoid damaging sun exposure, responsible for some 90% of NMSCs, represent an investment of just $5 million to $7 million, Professor