Skin cancers are the most common form of cancers in New Zealand. The mortality rate from skin cancer is among the highest in the world.
Sunburn, particularly in childhood and adolescence increases the risk of melanoma. Limiting ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure during school years could reduce the incidence of skin cancers in later life.
Skin cancer statistics
- Between 250 and 300 New Zealanders are dying from skin cancer every year.
- Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer affecting New Zealanders. There are approximately 67,000 new non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) cases each year.
- Of the 3 most common skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma), melanoma is the most serious.
- NZ has one of the highest melanoma death rates in the world.
- The most recent statistics are for 2007, showing:
- 2,173 registered cases of melanoma
- 292 deaths from melanoma
- 122 reported deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers.
- Skin cancer costs the New Zealand health system about $33 million a year, making skin cancer one of the most expensive cancers for the NZ health system.
- It has been estimated that, for every death from skin cancer, an average of 17.4 potential years of life are lost.
- The majority of skin cancers are preventable - it has been estimated that over 90% of melanomas in Australasia are caused by sunlight exposure.
- Sunburn before the age of 20 years is a particularly strong risk factor for melanoma incidence.
For more statistical information go to the Cancer Society website