An Australian melanoma expert has come out with a warning to all New Zealanders that they are at higher risk of getting melanoma than previously thought.
Professor David Whiteman from the Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane said new research showed Europeans who thought they were at low risk were actually vulnerable as well and had higher genetic risks that were not directly observable.
Prof. Whiteman commented how new studies show that there are two main pathways to developing melanoma. In the past doctors had been able to recognise those who were at higher risk analysing their physical characteristics, namely those with fair skin, red hair, freckles and lots of moles. However he comments how new melanoma genes have been discovered, which can double or triple an individuals risk of developing melanoma.
Prof. Whiteman said that the bottom line is that that everyone with fair skin living in New Zealand is at high risk for melanoma, which can partly be accredited to the harsh NZ sun. Hence we must ensure that appropriate slip, slop, slap and wrap measurements are taken when exposed to direct sunlight.