Menu
Lifestyle

Warning on new killer skin cancer: Merkel cell carcinoma

THE world's deadliest skin cancer has taken a grip on Queensland, yet many people have never heard of it.

Merkel cell carcinoma is a highly aggressive form of skin cancer, with 60% of patients dying within five years of diagnosis.

That compares to just 7% of melanoma patients.

Queensland has at least double the world rate of the rare cancer.

New research from Cancer Council Queensland, the University of Queensland and the Western Australia Institute of Medical Research suggests ultra-violet radiation plays an important role in the development of Merkel cell carcinoma, contributing to Queensland's record rates.

The findings have been presented at The Global Controversies and Advances in Skin Cancer Conference, hosted by Cancer Council Queensland, in Brisbane.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the five-year relative survival rate for Merkel cell carcinoma was just 41%, compared to 93% for melanoma.

"A total of 340 cases of Merkel cell carcinoma were diagnosed in Queensland from 2006 to 2010," Ms Clift said.

"As with most cancers, the best chance of survival is early diagnosis.

"This is particularly important for Merkel cell carcinoma as these tumours tend to grow rapidly."

It was essential health experts developed public health campaigns to educate people about the cancer, she said.

"Merkel cell carcinomas can be difficult to identify, and are sometimes confused with benign skin cancers," she said.

"It is therefore imperative that Queenslanders get to know their own skin.

"If they notice a new spot or lesion, or a spot or lesion change in shape, colour or size, they should visit their GP immediately."

Topics:  cancer health warning skin cancer



premium_icon Revealed: Full list of Rocky region's top ranking schools

Rockhampton State High School principal Kirsten Dwyer.

Local underdog school takes out Rocky's best OP school ranking

Dash cam video captures Rocky hoon in action

Stills from the dash cam footage shows the Mazda undertaking cars in Allenstown.

Hoon undertakes on the left hand side of the road

Careers fair opens new options for Rocky students

rockhampton State High School students Gemma Roug, Molly Hartley and Tahlia Kiraly at the school's inaugural careers fair.

GALLERY: Students enjoy The Morning Bulletin's photo booth

Local Partners

To the stranger who Photoshopped my picture

MIRANDA agreed to have her photo taken with her mum in a jewellery store. When she logged onto Instagram the next day, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

Don't delay: this test could save your life

LIFE-SAVING: Rob Patch is on a mission to convince people to have their sleep apnoea checked in order to prevent an early death.

"The doctors said I had come there to die.”

Cricket's Merv Hughes can’t stomach drink and drug-drivers

AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 26: Merv Hughes of Australia prepares to bowl on December 26, 1990 in Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

former Australian cricketer’s first car was an HT Holden wagon.

Russia’s seedy ‘virginity trade’

On Russian social media, young girls and women are being recruited to sell their virginity to wealthy men. Picture: The Sun

Girls as young as 17 sell their virginity

Cancer teen married two days before death

19-year-old cancer patient Lydia Dominguez married her boyfriend Joshua Ordonez just two days before she died.

Teen with cancer dies after getting married two days earlier

Dad’s shock: ‘I was told I was a paedophile’

Karl Pollard was taking his daughter Stephanie to visit her sick grandmother. Picture: SWNS/Mega

Hotel apologises after wrongly accusing innocent dad of paedophilia