The ABCDs of melanoma skin cancer are:
* Asymmetry. One half doesn’t match the appearance of the other half.
* Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
* Color. The color (pigmentation) is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to a mottled appearance.
* Diameter. The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm), about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated.
These are the classic signs of melanoma or skin cancer – if you’re worried about it yourself this is a useful source of information.
I heard this morning that sunbeds are to be totally banned in Australia, and that moves to put the legislation in place are actually happening. Further from the Sydney Morning Herald which puts more flesh on the bones of this story (sic) (k)
The Australian Medical Association and NSW Greens criticised the State Government this week for not acting sooner after both Victoria and South Australia introduced regulations earlier this year and Western Australia announced last week it would soon follow.
But yesterday the Minister Assisting the Minister for Health (Cancer), Verity Firth, said NSW would have “a comprehensive set of regulations in place for the solarium industry by the end of this year”.
A spokesman for Ms Firth said if the Radiation Health Committee did not speed up the process for national standards in the next few months, NSW would “jump ship”.
The spokesman said under-18s and those with sensitive “Type 1” skin would be banned from solariums. Type 1 includes those who burn and never tan.
The frequency of visits would also be limited, probably to no more than once every two days, he said. Coin-operated sunbeds would also be banned.
Research published in January showed that NSW teens were the highest users of solariums, with a prevalence rate of 12 per cent.
Below is a picture of Clare Oliver … the anti-solarium campaigner who died of sunbed-inspired cancer last year.
The study by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research also showed that solarium users aged under 35 had almost double the risk (98 per cent) of developing melanoma than those who did not.
The study’s co-author, Louisa Gordon, said yesterday there was no such thing as safe tanning.
“The sunbeds can emit very strong levels of radiation, stronger than the midday sun in Brisbane,” Dr Gordon said.
She said about 3 per cent of the population had used a solarium and less than 1 per cent of all UVR-caused melanoma deaths in Australia were attributable to solarium use each year.
Dr Gordon said there had been a fourfold growth in the solarium industry since 1992.
The Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said the Premier, Morris Iemma, was waiting too long to act.
Radio 4 are doing a feature on this this afternoon which I haven’t heard yet but you can access it here after 2pm today (21st April)