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Is melanoma a seasonal illness?

Posted by Dr James Burt on 11 October 2016

I sometimes get asked if melanoma is a seasonal illness? Do you see more melanoma in summer time?

I think when people ask this question they often misunderstanding how melanoma develops.

Their thought process is very much that one sunburn or one episode of over exposure to the sun directly results in the melanoma over the next few weeks of months.

We do diagnose more melanoma in the lead up to summer and over the summer months but this is for 2 reasons in my opinion .

1. The most obvious reason is that when the weather warms up  people get their summer clothes out or take their shirt off to go swimming or mow the lawns and either themselves, their partner or a friend draws their attention to a suspicious skin spot. The truth is many of these lesions have been developing over months or years and gone unnoticed under clothing over the winter months.

2. The second reason is just human nature. I think not infrequently someone has noticed a spot over the preceding months and in their heart of hearts they know they need to get it checked but for any number of reasons ( maybe it is being really busy at work or with family, sometimes it is because they are a full time carer for a very sick spouse or family member, sometimes it is fear of the diagnosis) they have put off making an appointment but as Christmas and New Year looms large they make an appointment because if they know if they don't get it checked this year they may let it drift into the new year indefinitely.  It does not really matter  why you come forward to have your skin checked it is just important that you do come forward.

The incidence of skin cancer in Australia is high. About sixty per cent of all adults in Australia will get at least one skin cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately the majority of these are not melanomas but having your skin checked is much easier than having a check for bowel, breast, lung or prostate cancer so just make a time and tick it off the list. Your trusted local doctor is always a great first option.

To get further information or to make an appointment to get the best treatment for your melanoma contact Dr James Burt's rooms in Melbourne now.



Dr James BurtAuthor: Dr James Burt
About: Dr Jamie Burt was born and educated in Melbourne, attending the University of Melbourne and graduating with MBBS in 1998. He is a member of the Senior Medical Staff at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, and was Head of Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute until 2004. Known for his respectful, informative, and caring approach, Jamie has been caring for patients for over 15 years.
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Tags: Melanoma

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