MPs highlight melanoma by getting skin checks

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

15 October 2015

Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman receiving a skin check by Dr Bruce Taylor

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says MPs from both sides of the House have received skin checks at Parliament today to help raise awareness of melanoma.

“Melanoma is New Zealand’s fourth most common cancer. It accounts for nearly 80 per cent of all skin cancer deaths, that’s over 300 deaths a year,” says Dr Coleman.

“The risk of developing melanoma is strongly linked to suffering from one or more sunburns in childhood or adolescence. Reducing severe sunburn would have the greatest impact on the incidence of melanoma.

“That’s why it is so important to help raise awareness of skin health and increase the prevention and early detection of melanoma.”

Health professionals recommend being SunSmart: slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on sunglasses. It’s also good to regularly check your skin for any changes. If you’re concerned about a mole or freckle, get it checked by your GP.

Today marked the first Melanoma New Zealand Parliament Skin Check Day. It is modelled off the Australian Pollie Skin Check Day awareness campaign.

“I want to acknowledge the work of the Health Promotion Agency and the Ministry of Health in this area,” says Dr Coleman.

“Both agencies are increasing their activities and are working closely with non-Government organisations such as Melanoma NZ and the Cancer Society and health professionals including oncologists and dermatologists.”

This work is being supported by the extra $400 million being invested into the health sector this year.

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129



Last updated: Thursday, October 15, 2015

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