Melanoma, the burning issue


With the summer fast approaching and our longer daylight hours we look forward to enjoying the sunshine once again.
‘ Changing our behaviour is one of the
best treatments. ,
Something to think about when you head outside is the fact that New Zealand leads the world in melanoma rates. Not the kind of gold medal performance we should boast about.
The latest production by Channel 39 takes a more detailed look into this serious issue and why it is that our population could be more at risk. Via the varied interviews with specialists and academics in cancer research the programme gives details on what melanoma is and why it is the most serious type of skin cancer and how to recognise if you are at risk.
Most melanomas are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight and with our limited sunshine on offer in the colder months a lot of people like to get as much as they can when it is available. There is also evidence that sun exposure in childhood gives a greater risk of melanoma than sun exposure in later life. There is also a greater risk of melanoma with high doses of sun exposure occasionally, during holiday and recreational activities, than with continuous sun exposure.
The show features a visit to the Niwa facility in Lauder in Central Otago where world class weather research equipment is used to measure and read different levels within the atmosphere to supply information such as UV levels. This information is not just for local research but supplies the information on a global scale.
It will also feature the introduction of Sun Smart schools that encourage and enforce sun protection to their pupils through weather appropriate clothing and activity. Outdoor workers in New Zealand are starting to understand the serious risks involved in exposure to the sun and are adopting a more cautious approach.
Changing our behaviour is one of the best treatments. Prevention is our best defence and this is what the country needs to do. – Melanoma — The Burning Issue airs on Channel 39 on Sunday, September 25.