WE all know of the threat of melanoma, but non melanoma skin cancers are causing an estimated four deaths per day in Australia.
A new report reveals that in addition to a higher death rate than many would think, non melanoma skin cancers are also placing a great deal of hardship on patients.
The Burden of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer report was developed in consultation with Rare Cancers Australia and leading cancer specialists.
It uses comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the potential impact of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC).
The report predicts that up to 1,700 Australians will die of advanced non-melanoma skin cancer this year.
In response to findings, cancer clinicians and organisations are calling for better public awareness, more comprehensive data collection and wider access to medicines.
Alex Guminski from Northern Sydney Cancer Centre said unlike other cancers, non-melanoma skin cancers were not comprehensively recorded.
"However a community survey has previously estimated that around two in every three Australians will be diagnosed with a non-melanoma skin cancer by the age of 70."
Associate Professor Guminski said while the vast majority of non-melanoma skin cancers could be easily cured, this created a misconception they were not serious.
The report also highlights social isolation and mental health problems for people living with advanced or recurring cancers, especially those living in rural areas.
Former international cricketer and long time farmer Peter Taylor said he had been treated for numerous non-melanoma skin cancers.
"I didn't know that it could be life threatening, to be honest. I thought melanoma was the,big one and that was really all I knew about," he said.
"During heavy work periods you're out there a lot, you're out there all day. Got to be so careful."
"Go to a specialist, get yourself checked. It's absolutely essential and do it regularly."
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