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Older Australians at risk of sun-related skin cancer death
Date:4/13/2008

A new Western Australian study has revealed the mortality from non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), commonly considered less dangerous than melanoma, is affecting older Australians at a worrying rate.

Researchers at the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) found West Australians above the age of 69, especially men, accounted for 70 percent of deaths from non-melanoma skin cancer in WA, and most primary cancers occured in areas of high sun exposure.

The study has prompted health experts to urge older people to stay vigilant about sun protection and get regular skin checks.

The Cancer Council WA Director of Education and Research and co-author of the paper, Terry Slevin, said the studys results should act as a strong reminder for older West Australians to check their skin and see their doctor at the first sign of anything suspicious.

Older people may have become blas about NMSC because for the most part they can just be cut out, but as this research shows, NMSC is serious and can be deadly if left untreated, he said.

Its important people understand that NMSCs are preventable from middle age its wrong to think all the damage to our skin is done in childhood and nothing can be done after that to avoid skin cancer.

The research published in the most recent edition of Cancer Causes Control, found 70 percent of deaths from NMSC occurred among people aged 70 years and over. More than 70 per cent of those were men, and in most cases the primary cancer developed on the face, ears, hands or scalp.

These results should be a stark reminder for older people, especially blokes, that they should be more vigilant in having their skin checked and do something if they notice any changes in their skin, Mr Slevin said.

The message these findings send us is that its never too late to prevent skin cancer and regular skin checks are important to catch skin cancers early, before they become a prob
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Contact: Sarah Hayward
sarah@capturemedia.com.au
61-411-404-415
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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