ROCKHAMPTON has often been dubbed Queensland's skin cancer capital, but new research shows we've slipped, slopped and slapped our way to the lowest rate of melanoma in the state.
The Cancer Council's Atlas of Cancer in Queensland has identified the Sunshine State's top melanoma hotspots, with rates of the deadly skin cancer reportedly lower in rural areas compared to the state average.
According to the figures, Central Queensland recorded the lowest incidence of melanoma, with 57 people per 100,000 diagnosed each year.
Mackay followed closely behind with a rate of 60 people per 100,000.
South-west Queensland, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast recorded the highest rates.
Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said typically, people may expect to see higher skin cancer rates in coastal areas, where locals opt for outdoor lifestyles.
However, she said the research was a reminder to all Queenslanders to remain vigilant about being SunSmart.
"Sun exposure and sunburn are strong predictors of melanoma, no matter where you live in Queensland," she said.
"It can appear at any age and on any area of the body.
"Queenslanders with fair skin, skin that burns easily, the presence of many moles, and a family history of skin cancer are at greater risk of developing melanoma."
She said early detection was vital.
"If you notice a new spot or lesion, or a spot or lesion change in shape, colour or size - visit your GP immediately."
People diagnosed with melanoma each year
North Queensland: 160 (67 per 100,000)
Central Queensland: 120 (57 per 100,000)
Mackay: 79 (60 per 100,000)
Bundaberg: 165 (69 per 100,000)
Sunshine Coast: 386 (71 per 100,000)
Brisbane: 1176 (68 per 100,000)