Skin cancer rate hits all time high and Cancer Society says urgent action needed - including sunbed ban

Ninety-thousand people will be diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in New Zealand this year, a new record high according to research published today, prompting the Cancer Society to call for urgent action by the Government.

The number of people affected is up from 67,000 cases in 2006.

The research was funded by the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Health Promotion Agency. 

This report estimates the numbers of diagnoses and the incidence rate of non-melanoma skin cancer in New Zealand based on data extracted from a regional collection of pathology records of skin biopsies taken in 2009 to 2013.

"These figures show that a staggering number of New Zealanders are affected by skin cancer and urgent action is needed to increase sun protection and reduce UV damage," said Dr Chris Jackson, Medical Director for the Cancer Society.

While the projected figures for 2018 include both invasive and non-invasive skin cancers, whereas the 2006 figures include only invasive skin cancers, this is still a major rise in the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer, the Cancer Society says.

"We already know we have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, but basal and squamous cell cancers aren't usually counted by the cancer registry," Dr Jackson said. 

This new research is the first attempt to estimate contemporary skin cancer rates in New Zealand with previous data only available from 2006, he said.  

The society says the burden of non-melanoma skin cancer is well beyond what it expected and they are calling for urgent action. 

"We need a strong response from Government that includes banning sunbeds, improving sun protection for outdoor workers, making shade areas mandatory and rolling out funding for SunSmart into all schools, and launching a skin cancer reduction strategy," Dr Jackson said.

The data from the research will be useful for informing projections for health care system costs and the planning of future health care needs in New Zealand, he said.

Meanwhile the Cancer Society is encouraging all New Zealanders who are concerned about dark, pigmented skin spots, or ones that are crusted or bleeding, to see a doctor. 

The Cancer Society strongly recommends that all Kiwis continue to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses.

The research titled 'Expected keratinocytic cancer incidence in New Zealand' was funded by the New Zealand Health Promotion Agency and the Cancer Society of New Zealand and authored by Epidemiologist, Mary Jane Sneyd and Biostatistican, Andrew Gray.

Early results from the Australian-led trials shows the spread of cancer in some high-risk patients can be cut in half. Source: 1 NEWS

Warning: 'We’ve been caught on the back foot' -Homegrown ticket scammers trick Kiwi concertgoers through fake Facebook page

Homegrown event organisers have been contacted by 45 people who have been the latest targets of concert ticket scams.

Kelly Wright, a spokesperson for the Wellington Kiwi music festival, said it expects many more may have also been the victims of scammers on Facebook.

Ms Wright said she's aware of scammers that had made up Facebook accounts, contacted people wanting tickets on Wellington-based public Facebook group Vic Deals, taken the money from purchasers and sent them a screenshot of a Homegrown ticket that had also been sent to multiple other people.

Purchasers had become aware they’d been scammed after the seller deleted their Facebook account or when others posted online about dodgy dealers.

"We’ve been caught on the back-foot, we'll be exploring all avenues for next year to resolve the issue," Ms Wright said.

Ms Wright said the record six and a half week early sell out of 18,000 tickets to the event has led to more time for dodgy behaviour to occur, compared to last year when tickets sold out a week and a half before.

The North Shore rapper, who was last year's breakout artist at the Tui Awards, got the crowd pumping.
Source: 1 NEWS


Delays as 'incident' on Auckland's Harbour Bridge closes city-bound lanes

Police say an "incident" on Auckland's Harbour Bridge has closed some city-bound lanes this afternoon.

Police say they are currently at the scene of an incident on Auckland's Harbour Bridge along with emergency services.

The clip on lanes of the bridge heading into the city are closed and motorists are asked to avoid the area if possible as there will be delays.

Auckland Harbour Bridge. Source: 1 NEWS