Queensland men aged over 55 are most risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers. The latest research has uncovered the extent of the disease and its cost on the health system.

Lily Nothling reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Stephen Billett knows all too well the power of the Queensland sun.

After decades spent outdoors, he’s recently had cancers cut out of his chest, stomach and nose.

Stephen Billett, Skin cancer sufferer: “Skin cancer has come up as an issue, and it seems to be becoming more of an issue as I get older.”

The latest research found seven per cent of Australians over 20 had a skin cancer cut out between 2011 and 2014.

Queensland men over 55 are most at risk with an outdoor lifetstyle a major culprit.

Professor David Whiteman, QIMR Berghofer: “These are caused by chronic exposures to sunlight, so everyday exposures like mowing the lawn, hanging out washing, going to the shops.”

Professor Whiteman says the findings should remind us just how easy prevention can be, and the toll isn’t just on human health.

Professor David Whiteman, QIMR Berghofer: “When you magnify and multiply out the costs of each of those treatments, it comes to hundred and hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Even on grey days like today, Queenslanders should be wary of their sun exposure.

The study found the state’s cancer rates were almost twice the national average, and three times that of Victoria and Tasmania.

In the lead-up to summer, residents of the Sunshine State should be more vigilant than ever.

But Stephen Billett says when it comes to slip slop slap, he’s still learning.

Lily Nothling, QUT News.