In Australia, the number of skin cancer cases outnumbers the number of all other types of cancers combined. At least 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
There are three major types of skin cancers: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCC and BCC are the most common forms of skin cancer and are not usually life-threatening if detected early. Because they are so common, SCCs and BCCs contribute considerable costs to the Australian healthcare system.
There are ongoing partnerships with QUT through the Centre of Research Excellence in Sun and Health (CRESH), the Queensland Institute of Dermatology, the UQ Dermatology Research Centre and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Department of Medicine.
Major funding has been received through the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Program and Project grants to study the development and prevention of skin cancer in very large prospective studies.
Our research focuses on:
- conducting the largest study of skin cancer in Queensland, QSkin
- researching the safety and efficacy of sunscreens
- identifying tumour genes in cancer-prone families
- studying the biological mechanisms that influence skin cancer growth, such as the way UV light causes DNA damage and cell growth
- developing animal models for melanoma
- surveying the community in Nambour, Queensland to explore environmental influences (like diet) on skin cancer development
- investigating the genetics of basal cell carcinoma syndrome and basal cell carcinoma.
Our recent research has shown:
- rates of treatments for keratinocyte cancers in Australia are beginning to fall in people under the age of 45 years, but continue to rise in older Australians
- a clinical tool comprising eight clinical features can predict a person’s future risk of skin cancer with 80 % accuracy.