Melanoma rates higher among women

QUEENSLAND Cancer Council spokeswoman Katie Clift says the reason melanoma rates are higher among young women than young men could come down to sun tanning behaviour.

"Recent figures show 49% of Queensland secondary school girls aged 12-17 indicated they had attempted to get a tan during the previous summer compared to 25% of boys," she said.

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While on average 110 Queensland men under 35 are diagnosed with melanoma each year, the figure is 140 for young women.

Mackay friends Regan O'Shea and Teagan Tramacchi, both 18, said they went tanning a few times a month.

Miss Tramacchi said they rarely used sun protection or considered the potential health risks.

"I feel like I can't tan as much with sunscreen," she said.

Mackay woman Eva Menkens, 35, said she used to tan regularly.

"You didn't even consider the consequences, you just wanted to have nice bronzed skin," she said.

Ms Menkens said she started to worry about her skin and be sun safe when she was around 26.

Yet she said for many women in her age bracket, sun safety wasn't a concern.

"Women in Mackay and the north region tan too much, it should be something to worry about," she said.

The incidence of invasive melanoma for men under 35 in Queensland has been decreasing by an average of around three per cent per year between 1997-2013.

Prior to 1997, it was increasing.

For women, there has been a slower average annual decrease but over a longer period of time, with a steady decline of just under one per cent per year between 1982-2013.



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