One in ten Tauranga people will develop melanoma or a pre-cancerous form of it, according to research that shows the Bay has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The rates were well above the national average of 40 per 100,000 people, and even exceeds rates in Queensland and Hawaii, which both treat about 60 people per 100,000 every year for invasive melanoma.
Unfortunately, the Bay’s ‘claim to fame’ of having high sunshine hours is the main reason why people go to Tauranga in the first place. This is particularly true of their retired population. Consequently, because there's also lots of sun there, they end up having melanomas. The 11-point UV index often reached ‘extreme’ in Tauranga and people failed to understand that these levels were not related to temperature.
The UV rate never gets above 11 anywhere else in the world, apart from some bits of Australia and the bottom of Argentina. People just don't appreciate how bad it is because it's not as hot in the Bay as it is in Australia, and because they have the ocean close by, it's cooler, so people think it's nice to be in the sun.
Melanoma affects pigment cells and is one of about a dozen different types of skin cancer, and is the third most common form, and one of the more dangerous because it is capable of spreading to other parts of the body. Melanoma, if caught early, is almost always successfully treated, which is why MoleMap do mole checks and skin cancer checks at their clinic in Mount Maunganui. The MoleMap Tauranga skin clinic combines a proven skin-mapping system, and skin cancer expertise to diagnose melanoma and other skin cancers. Their friendly Tauranga team has been detecting and diagnosing melanoma and other skin cancers for over two decades.
As they say, "People need to keep a close eye on their skin and if they develop a new mole or see a mole that's changing they need to go and see their doctor," so for more information on skin clinics, body mole maps, sun protection tips and signs of melanoma please go to www.molemap.co.nz .