Melanoma Cancer Awareness Month

This Melanoma Awareness month, we’d like to take the opportunity to highlight how you can help in the prevention and early detection of melanoma and how you can support vital research focused on the early detection and better treatment of melanoma.  

At Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) we award grants for innovative cancer research initiatives that lead to breakthroughs and discoveries that help each individual diagnosed with this complex and disruptive disease. In fact, an ACRF funded initiative is set to establish one of the largest melanoma surveillance and early detection programs in the world. Read more about the project here.

When is Melanoma Cancer Awareness Month? 

May is Melanoma Awareness Month.  This month is commemorated across Australia and the world each year. 

Why is Melanoma Awareness month so important? 

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer because if it isn’t detected early, it can spread to other organs. For that reason, early diagnosis is key to survival. While an individual with Stage 1 melanoma has a 99% chance of surviving longer than 5 years, that figure drops dramatically if the cancer spreads. Individuals with Stage 4 melanoma have just a 20% chance of surviving longer than 5 years.

Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world and is often referred to as ‘Australia’s national cancer’.

Melanoma is the third most diagnosed cancer in Australian men and women and the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39-year-old Australians.

In fact, more than 1600 Australians die each year from this devastating disease, which is mostly preventable and highly treatable if detected early.

Melanoma Cancer Awareness Month is so important to commemorate in Australia due to it’s high rates within our country. This month aims to raise awareness about melanoma to encourage more people to get regular checks as well as raising much needed funds to help improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.

What colour represents melanoma awareness month?

Melanoma awareness is represented by the colour black.

To help raise awareness throughout the month of May, you can wear the colour black to show your support and encourage conversations to start with your family, friends or colleagues about melanoma.

What colour ribbon is for melanoma cancer? 

The melanoma awareness ribbon is black.

Instead of wearing black clothes, you can choose to wear a black ribbon to support Melanoma Cancer Awareness Month.

How can you raise awareness for Melanoma Cancer this March

There are many ways you can support those diagnosed with melanoma. Support each individual by:

  • Wearing a black ribbon and encouraging conversations about melanoma.
  • Shaving to raise funds for cancer research.
  • Participating in the many fun runs or run your own race.
  • Protecting your skin from the sun and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Getting regular skin checks and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Sharing this page to raise awareness of melanoma and the risks.
  • Donating to cancer research.

There are many ways to support the work of ACRF and together, with everyone’s input, we will achieve our goal to outsmart cancer. Learn how you can get involved with ACRF and support research into all types of cancer, including melanoma.

ACRF’s contribution to melanoma research

ACRF is committed to improving the prevention, detection and treatments of melanoma.

ACRF has provided funding to several research institutes for research programs to develop earlier detection and more effective treatments for melanoma.

In 2018, ACRF awarded almost $10m to establish the ACRF Australian Centre of Excellence in Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis. A diagnostic centre set to revolutionise the early detection of melanoma. The rollout (later this year) of 15, three-dimensional whole body imaging systems across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria will significantly enhance the capability and capacity of clinicians and researchers to detect and understand melanoma.

The 3D imaging system takes a total body image in milliseconds, giving dermatologists the ability to detect skin cancers in a patient even from the other side of the country, through a telemedicine network. This will greatly reduce appointment times and healthcare costs, as melanoma is often referred to as Australia’s ‘national cancer’.

In 2011, ACRF awarded $5M to establish the ACRF Melanoma Research Laboratories. This grant was used as seed-funding for the construction of two world-class melanoma research laboratories. 

Click here to read more about this grant.