Scratching beneath the surface of 'the Australian cancer' - launch of CSIRO skin cancer book

October 1, 2014


If you’ve ever had skin cancer or if you’re related to someone who has, a definitive new book from the Cancer Council and CSIRO Publishing takes you through everything you need to know about skin cancer.

Australia has the unenviable reputation of being the skin cancer capital of the world with two in three Australians developing skin cancer before the age of 70, and 2,000 people dying from the disease every year. 

More than three quarters of a million skin cancers will be treated in Australia this year and more than 2 million Australians have had a skin cancer removed.

‘Sun, Skin and Health’, is the definitive guide to skin cancer which brings together the leading experts in their various fields from across Australia and the world.

Terry Slevin, editor of the book and Director of Education and Research at Cancer Council WA, said the book was written for all Australians.

“Skin cancer is now so common in Australia, it’s become known as ‘the Australian cancer’, Mr Slevin said.

“This book is about understanding how to get the very best out of our sunny climate, while minimising the risk that is inherent in it.

Mr Slevin said it should be required reading for anyone who cares about their skin their health and their loved ones.

“As families tend to share and pass on skin types, if you are related to someone who has had any kind of skin cancer, chances are you have a similar type of skin and are in the frame for skin cancer too.

He said Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with the total yearly cost to Australia of skin cancer expected to exceed $1 billion by next year.

Mr Slevin, who also was the previous Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s National Skin Cancer Committee, said there are lot of myths and misconceptions about skin cancer and this book puts those to bed.

“Just scratch the surface of almost any issue on skin cancer and you find complexities and more than a few controversies – the science is constantly evolving and we know a lot more now than we did 30 years ago,” he said.

The book covers a wide range of issues important to managing skin cancer in Australia including the origins of skin cancer, the factors that drive the strength of UV radiation, early detection and treatment of the major skin cancers and what to do after the disease.

There are also chapters on sunscreen, Vitamin D, eye health and the impact of the sun and what to look for in protective clothing and shade.

‘Sun, Skin and Health’ is a CSIRO Publishing production and is available for purchase in stores from today.


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