THE seven worst melanoma hot spots in the state are on the Northern Rivers.
In data mapping just released by the Cancer Institute NSW it was revealed the Northern NSW Local Health District had the highest rate in the state of melanoma cases per 100,000 people.
Seven Local Government Areas within the district were also at the top the list of the worst rates in the state.
Byron Bay Local Government Area had the highest rates of skin cancer in NSW, followed by Ballina, Richmond Valley, Lismore, Kyogle, Clarence Valley and Tweed.
. Byron: 45 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and 3 people die of the disease.
. Ballina: 60 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and 5 people die of the disease.
. Richmond Valley: 30 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and 2 people die of the disease.
. Lismore: 50 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and 5 people die of the disease.
. Kyogle: 12 people diagnosed with melanoma each year. (deaths can't be provided due to size of community).
. Clarence Valley: 70 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and 5 people die of the disease.
. Tweed: 115 people diagnosed with melanoma each year and 10 people die of the disease.
* Cancer Institute rankings were based on rates (cases per 100,000) so the actual number of cases may fluctuate based on the population size of the area.
The figures from the Cancer Institute NSW, along with data mapping areas of NSW with the highest rates of melanoma, were released as the second state-wide skin cancer prevention strategy was launched.
Professor David Currow, Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, said at the launch: "Next year alone 4900 people in NSW will be told they have melanoma. By 2021 this figure will increase to approximately 6000 people and will continue to grow - but we can take action. We know that 95 per cent of melanomas can be prevented by protecting the skin from harmful UV. For non-melanoma skin cancers this rises to 99 per cent.
"Our message for people in NSW is to take action to protect your skin, it could save your life. When the UV is high, whether it is sunny or overcast, seek shade, apply broad spectrum, SPF 30-plus sunscreen every two hours and wear a hat, sunglasses and protective clothing."
The NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy sees government and non-government organisations across the state collaborating to change the future of skin cancer in NSW.
Professor Currow said, "This strategy is a collaborative effort and will see us work with groups like Safe Work NSW, the NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Department of Education, the NSW Office of Sport, Cancer Council NSW, Melanoma Institute Australia and others to implement policies, campaigns and infrastructure to protect the community from harmful UV".
Melanoma survivor and teacher Veronica Manock says that getting the message out to people at risk is vital.
"Young people don't realise that melanoma is something can happen to them, but I was only 20 when I was first diagnosed. Now, I make sure the students I teach know how easy it is to protect themselves when out and about and that simple actions can prevent more damage from UV rays.
"Preventing melanoma and other skin cancers is something everyone can do and something we are each responsible for. It's great to see such an important message spread through this strategy and I believe that together, we can all be a part of the change in the future of skin cancer."
The NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy focuses on groups most at risk of UV exposure such as kids, adolescents and men over 40, as well as settings where people are most exposed to the sun, like schools, outdoor work sites and leisure areas like pools, parks and beaches.
You can find the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy at https://www.cancerinstitute.org.au.