A research study has revealed that one third of the moles which are seen among elderly Australians who run the risk of contracting skin cancer are melanomas which are dangerous. The country's skin specialists believe that this is applicable to Australians who are aged over 50 years. As many as 309 patients were studied during the course of the research over a period of three years. The chances of the new moles on older patients being melanomas were 30 times higher when compared to younger people.
People aged more than 50 years should consult a doctor when they see new moles appearing on their skin. The new moles appearing on people aged less than 50 years have a less than 1% chance of turning out to be melanomas. The Archives of Dermatology had published the results of the study. Even though the study was confined to people who are considered high risk, the results are applicable to the general population.
Melanomas claimed the lives of 338 women and 715 men in Australia during the course of 2002. In 2003, people aged over 50 years accounted for 73% of the melanomas which were diagnosed, and 85% of the deaths due to melanomas also belonged to the same age group. The incidence is much higher in the case of men and women who led an outdoors life in their youth, and did not bother about using sunscreen.