Melanoma hot spots.
Melanoma hot spots.

Our region is worst for melanoma

BALLINA, Byron and the Tweed have topped the list of Melanoma Red-Zone communities by having the highest rates of the disease in the state.

The list, issued by the Cancer Institute of NSW, lists Ballina Shire as having the highest rates of melanoma cancers in the state, followed by Walcha, Weddin, Byron, Tweed.

In Sydney, Pittwater, Manly and Sutherland Shire have the highest rates.

"Skin cancer follows the sun, so we are seeing an increase in melanoma where the UV levels are at their greatest along the coast," Professor David Currow, chief cancer officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW said.

"The outdoor lifestyles we all enjoy, combined with a lack of action when it comes to sun protection and susceptible skin types creates a potentially deadly mix for every person across the state," Professor Currow said.

"Unless every person in NSW gets serious about sun protection, melanoma rates will continue to rise across the state.

As the UV index approaches extreme over summer months, the Cancer Institute NSW is advising families across the state to plan ahead.

"Your skin needs protection from the sun when the UV index is three or above," Professor David said.

"Unlike many other parts of the world, our UV index is three or above in the middle of the day from August until May," he said.

"It is expected we will see UVR levels hit extreme levels this summer - so we are issuing a caution to all communities across the state."

The release of the list of top melanoma areas coincides with the launch this week of the successful Dark Side of Tanning television commercials as part of the summer 2011-2012 Skin Cancer Prevention campaign, in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of UVR over-exposure.



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