Why are skin cancer rates in Australia so high?

Why are skin cancer rates in Australia so high?                

Why are skin cancer rates in Australia so high?  _ ichhori.com

“All minorities think they’re immune, but we’re absolutely part of the one in five that gets Skin Cancer! It is a myth, and myths are meant to be debunked.” – Gabrielle Union

Being healthy is what everyone desires, however not everyone is lucky enough to always stay away from the hospital and not falling sick at all. We all fall sick at some or the other time in our lives, while some of us suffer from minor diseases which can be treated easily and does do any major harm to the life of the patient but whereas some of us may suffer from diseases like Cancer, Heart, Kidney or Liver Disease which changes our life forever.

And CANCER, well you all might have seen someone or the other close to you or around you suffering from cancer right? And that might have terrified you because of how dangerous that disease can be. CANCER, although just a six letter word, has a lot of negative impact on the minds of the people, because of the fact that one can hardly see anyone getting recovered from cancer and living a happy life, because what most of the times we see is cancer leading to the death of our loved ones. Thus, one can see that a lot of awareness has been rising against cancer, it’s symptoms, types and treatment so that people don’t have to lose their loved ones to a deadly disease yet again.

But there might be reasons why the number of people suffering from any type of cancer keeps on increasing day by day, similarly there might also be reasons why skin cancer rates in Australia are so high? And today’s article we shall look into the reasons why Australia has higher skin cancer rates, but before that we shall look into what is skin cancer, it’s types and so on.

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin Cancer is nothing but the abnormal growth of the skin cells and most often develops on the skin that is most exposed in the sunlight. But that doesn’t mean that one can be affected by skin cancer on the areas not exposed to the sun. There are three main types of Skin Cancer and they are as follows:

·         Basal cell carcinoma,

·         Squamous cell carcinoma and

·         Melanoma

And they have got their names from the different layers of the skin, meaning the layer of the skin where the cancer cells grow or develop.

Where does Skin Cancer Start?

Most skin cancers start in the upper layer of the skin, called the epidermis. And there are 3 main types of cells in the epidermis, which are known as:

• Squamous cells: Squamous cells are flat cells in the upper (outer) part of the epidermis, which constantly break down as new ones form. When these cells grow out of control, they can develop into squamous cell carcinoma (also called squamous cell carcinoma).

• Basal cells: Basal cells are located at the base of the epidermis, called the basal cell layer. These cells constantly divide to form a new cell and replace the aging squamous cells on the surface of the skin. As these cells grow in the epidermis, they become flattering, thus becoming squamous cells. Skin cancer that starts in the basal cell layer is called basal cell cancer or basal cell carcinomas.

• Melanocytes: Melanocytes are cells that form a brown pigment called melanin, which causes the skin to darken or turn brown. Melanin (the pigment which gives the colour to the skin) acts as a natural sunscreen for the body, thus protecting the deeper layers of the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun. And Melanoma skin cancer starts in these very cells.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Skin Cancer?

Although Skin Cancer itself is one of the most common types of cancer, we still have different types of skin cancer and, let's take a look at which type of skin cancer is most common.

Of all the different types of skin cancer, Basal and squamous cell cancer are the most common types of skin cancer. They usually start on the upper layer of the skin (known as the epidermis), and are usually caused by exposure to the sun.

Now that we know what is skin cancer, it’s types and other factors like where does it start and all, let’s quickly dive into our main question; Why are skin cancer rates in Australia so high?

1.      Ultraviolet Radiation in Australia

UV radiation is linked to a short geography study, as follows: the ozone layer is a region in the Earth's stratosphere that absorbs most of the sun's UV rays. Since the 1970's, a gradual decline in the ozone layer has been observed by scientists. This is especially so near the North and South Poles. As the ozone layer decreases, the atmosphere loses its protective layer and some harmful UV rays reach the surface of our planet.

This decrease is directly related to the growing number of cases of skin cancer. Protection from UV radiation is a personal responsibility as the main factors that put people at risk for melanoma are associated with exposure to sunlight and a history of sunburn.

Researchers estimate that a 10% decrease in ozone layer will result in 300,000 non-melanoma and 4,500 cases of melanoma skin cancer (www.who.int/).

The problem with Australia is that the continent receives higher levels of UV radiation than Europe. "Being close to the ozone layer over the Antarctic means that very high levels of UV radiation reach low levels," says Dr. Hasanien.

In summer, the Earth's orbit is closer to Australia in the sun (compared to Europe during the summer), resulting in an increase in UV energy by 7%. In line with our clearer climate, this means that Australians are exposed to UV 15% more than Europeans.

2.      Genetics play a role in skin cancer!

Now, a history study: migration patterns are also responsible for the highest number of skin cancer cases in Australia.

Centuries ago, human genes were closely related to the environment in which they lived. Today the color of human skin is often no longer appropriate in their area, especially in Australia.


"While the Aborigines have been promoting natural selection for generations, our Anglo-Celtic /European heritage leaves our skin in tune with the harsh conditions of the Australian continent," notes Dr. Hasanien.

White people who migrate to areas with high UV radiation are at greater risk of developing skin cancer. The same situation applies to people who are more exposed to the sun in short periods, such as on vacation.

Thus, one can easily see that there are two main factors that causes the high number of skin cancers in Australia, one being the environment – ultraviolet radiation followed by the genetics, and it seems that both of these factors are in no one’s control. Thus, it becomes highly important for one to take good care of their skin as much as possible but you on your own neither would be able to reduce the ultraviolet radiation nor could you change your genes, which counts as the two most important reasons why Australians why higher number of skin cancers than anyone in the world.

Ref: How to Spot Skin Cancer

Skin cancer - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

Why Is The Skin Cancer Rate Higher In Australia? (specialistaustralia.com.au)



Previous Post Next Post