On 4 February, several Townsville landmarks will be lit up in blue and orange. Victoria Bridge, the Old Magistrates Court and the big Townsville sign will form part of coordinated lighting display of 50 landmarks across Australia & New Zealand. 

Why? Today is international World Cancer Day, an annual initiative to create a future without cancer. The lighting display will symbolise that we stand together for a world less burdened by cancer. Here in North Queensland, we have an amazing opportunity to make serious inroads on this goal. 

Before we get into why, here’s a few fast facts:

  • Melanoma is recognised as Australia’s national cancer, with about 16,000 Australians diagnosed in 2021. 
  • Melanoma is the second most common cancer in North Queensland.
  • Two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with some type of skin cancer before the age of 70. That rate is even higher here in North Queensland. 
  • Australia leads the world with deaths from skin cancer. 

It can’t be denied that compared to the rest of the world, here in North Queensland we are overly impacted by skin cancer. Despite the disturbing stats, it’s not all doom and gloom! We have a unique opportunity for the incidence and impact of skin cancer to be drastically reduced. Here’s why:

  • Unlike some types of cancer, skin cancer can be largely prevented. 95% of skin cancer cases are caused by incidental sun exposure. This means that by taking simple, preventative steps (such as applying sunscreen daily), we greatly reduce our risk. 
  • Recent treatment developments (such as immunotherapy) provide genuine hope for those with melanoma. Ongoing clinical trials improve the treatment of skin cancer.
  • Alongside our accredited specialist doctors, the development of technology (such as our IntelliStudio2 system) assists with the early detection of skin cancer
  • It’s a fact: regular skin checks save lives. For successful treatment, it is crucially important to diagnose potentially life-threatening skin cancer in its early stages. A skin check is a simple, painless process! (and can be easily booked online). 

Australian doctors believe that with awareness and action, we can lead a melanoma-free future. Now that is something to applaud this World Cancer Day!

Photo credit: Megan Mackinnon