The good news is that our skin cancer diagnoses are decreasing.
According to Google yesterday was officially the first day of spring. 1 September seems like a lovely easy-to-remember start to the season (you've got to admit we're big into the KISS method of operation) but the reality is that the true seasonal start to spring is actually around 21 or 22 September.
With spring now officially declared it's time for us to start thinking about our skin health. In particular protecting ourselves against the sun and that bloody big hole in the ozone layer.
Actually, before I talk about melanoma, let me just go back to the hole in the ozone layer for a minute.
In an article put out by the Huffington Post this year there never was a hole in the ozone above Australia. Above Antarctica yes (which is nearby) but never over Australia. They warned it could spread to Australia, but it never did. Huh.
Let me investigate that further ...
There was never a hole over Australia?
According to The Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy the ozone over Australia has thinned and we've naturally got high UV down our way anyway, but there is no mention of an actual hole above the land of Oz.
Well, it sure scared the shit out of us enough to stop using so many CFCs and to start smothering ourselves in sunscreen.
When it comes to melanoma diagnosis the message seems to be getting through.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has revealed that "although melanoma rates have risen overall from 27 to 49 cases per 100,000 people since 1982, they have decreased for those under 40 - from 13 cases per 100,000 people in 2002, to about nine in 2016." (as reported in the Australian Women's Weekly October 2016).
It looks like we're finally starting to see the results of the provision of sun protection for our kids. Back in my day we would smother ourselves in baby oil to get the full BBQ chook effect. Which in turn led to far too many skin cancer related deaths. With our new sun-smart mentality (whether it was ozone layer induced or not) we're seeing those melanoma numbers starting to decline.
Good job Australia, good job.
In a recent article in the Australian Women's Weekly it is expected that around 13,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Australia this year which accounts for around 80% of all new cancers. Of that 13,000 they say about 1800 will die from the disease.
So while we're making a difference, we haven't stamped it out yet. We've still got a long way to go.
Bring back the Slip Slop Slap song!
Catchy isn't it?
When did you last get your skin checked?