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Largest Australian skin cancer study

Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) are embarking on the largest skin cancer research study ever conducted in Australia. The QSkin study will invite more than 200,000 men and women to participate in a study in an effort to refine our understanding of the factors that underlie skin cancer risk.

Queenslanders have the highest rates of melanoma and skin cancer in the world.

“Around 451,000 people will be newly diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia in 2010, and more than 2,000 will develop melanoma. With better knowledge of the causes, we can work towards better methods for preventing and treating these cancers,” said Professor David Whiteman from QIMR’s Cancer Control Group.

“The survey will ask about previous sun exposure, number of freckles and moles, skin type, family history of cancer, and many other factors. By linking this information with Medicare records, QSkin will provide comprehensive information about people’s medical history and skin cancer risk,” said Professor Whiteman.

“The study will examine long-term information about a range of factors that may prove to influence skin cancer risk. Through this knowledge, we hope to gain a better understanding of how skin cancers develop and who is at greatest risk.”

With the information gathered from QSkin, researchers will develop a tool that doctors and patients can use to predict a person’s future risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers.

“This tool will have important implications for the prevention of these cancers. For example, doctors may be able to identify people at high risk of developing skin cancer, who can be offered regular skin checks.”

“Similar tools have been developed for heart diseases and related conditions, and have proven to be highly effective in helping doctors and patients to manage the risks of disease.”

Professor Whiteman is looking for volunteers aged between 40 and 69 years to take the QSkin survey. To register for the survey, visit