Media event date: 
17 November 2019
Date published: 
18 November 2019
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Today marks the start of National Skin Cancer Action Week, a reminder to all Australians of the importance of staying protected in the sun.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This includes Melanoma and non-Melanoma skin cancers.

Melanoma is expected to be the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer, with 15,229 new cases estimated.

Unfortunately, up to 1,725 people will die from the disease this year.

While the mortality rate for the non-melanoma skin cancer is lower than Melanoma, up to 700 Australians will die of from the disease this year.

Australia performs well in controlling skin cancer, with 91 per cent of people with the condition surviving more than five years.

But we can do better.

There are five simple things Australians can do to protect themselves and greatly reduce their risk of skin cancer:

  • Slip on sun-protective clothing;
  • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen;
  • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat;
  • Seek shade;
  • Slide on sunglasses.

The Morrison Government’s commitment to melanoma prevention and treatment remains steadfast.

Melanoma medicines Tafinlar® (dabrafenib) and Mekinist® (trametinib) were expanded on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on November 1, to include subsidy for post-surgery treatment for patients who have Stages IIIB, IIIC and IIID melanoma.

Over 260 patients per year are expected to benefit from this listing each year.

Without the PBS subsidy, patients might otherwise pay more than $128,900 for each course of treatment for these medicines. They will now pay a maximum of $40.30 per script, or $6.50 per script for a concession. 

From 1 October 2013 to June 2018, the Government’s expenditure on PBS medicines to treat/manage Melanoma exceeded $1 billion.              

Since 2013 and 2018, the Government – through the NHMRC – invested more than $81 million in Melanoma research, and more than $17 million in non-melanoma skin cancer research.

National Skin Cancer Action Week is a reminder for all of us to protect our skin to reduce the risk of getting skin cancer.

By following five simple steps – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide – we can all enjoy a happier and healthier life.