Cancer Council Australia

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Australia is the world's skin cancer capital. Skin cancer accounts for over 80% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia each year. In 2007, skin cancer caused over 1700 Australian deaths, 1279 from melanoma and 448 from non-melanoma skin cancer.

Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, with 11,545 people being diagnosed with melanoma in Australia in 2009.

Non-melanoma skin cancer deaths are rare compared with the number of cases: it is estimated that around 434,000 Australians are treated for non-melanoma skin cancers each year. There is no incidence data, as non-melanoma skin cancer diagnoses are not registered on state/territory and national cancer databases.

Skin cancer is the most preventable of all common cancers, with almost all cases caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation - predominantly from the sun but also from solarium use. Detailed policy information on skin cancer control in Australia is available in the UV chapter of our National Cancer Prevention Policy and related position statements.

*More recent mortality figures are available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics but, as these figures are preliminary and subject to revision, our policy documents cite the confirmed figures from the Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality books published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality Books, 2012,
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Non-melanoma skin cancer: general practice consultations, hospitalisation and mortality. Canberra, 2008.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australasian Association of Cancer Registries. Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2006. Canberra: AIHW; 2007

This page was last updated on: Friday, October 11, 2019

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