Melanoma (skin) cancer

Melanoma, also known as ‘Australia’s national cancer’, is the most common cancer found in young Australians. 

Australia and New Zealand have the highest melanoma rates in the world, with Queensland surpassing all other jurisdictions nationally and internationally.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the skin cells and typically occurs on parts of the body that have been exposed to the sun.

Melanoma usually doesn’t present many symptoms, however the first sign of melanoma is generally a change in an existing mole or the appearance of a new spot. If you are concerned about a new or existing mole, it is important you get them checked by a doctor.

These changes can include:

  • colour change in mole (have different colour shades or become blotchy)
  • increase or change in size and shape
  • itching or bleeding
  • elevation - the mole may develop a raised area
  • dark areas under nails.

Individuals who are at high risk of developing melanoma are urged to check their skin for irregular or changing moles. It’s important you get to know your skin. Regular examination of the skin by you or your doctor will increase the chance of finding melanoma early, as most melanomas are visible to the naked eye.

To help decrease the risk you should also minimise sun exposure; seek shade; wear a hat that covers the head, neck and ears; wear sun protective clothing and wear a high SPF sunscreen (ensuring to reapply regularly).

Resources regarding melanoma: