Current UV Index
UV index: 0.0
Alice Springs
UV index: 0.0
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Gold Coast
UV index: 0.0
UV index: 0.0
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UV index: 0.0

Click the indexes to view the minimum recommended protection

When the UV index is low, sun protection is generally not needed unless outside for extended periods

UV observations courtesy of ARPANSA

Fast facts

  • Around 36 Australians are diagnosed with Melanoma every day.
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of Melanoma in the world.
  • Approx one person dies every 5 hours from Melanoma in Australia.
  • An estimated 545 Australian women will die from melanoma THIS YEAR.
  • Tanning beds emit dangerous UV rays, increasing the risk of Melanoma.
  • Severe sunburn during childhood can DOUBLE your risk of Melanoma.
  • Melanoma is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
  • An estimated 1230 Australian men will die from melanoma THIS YEAR.
  • Melanoma is the cancer most likely to affect 15-39 year olds.
  • Melanoma can arise in normal looking skin, a mole or freckle.
  • Melanoma, if detected/treated early, has a survival rate of nearly 100%.
  • There is no cure for melanoma that has spread throughout the body.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is one of the three main types of skin cancer and begins in the cells of the skin called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce a dark pigment (melanin) which helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from ultra violet radiation (eg. sunlight). The amount of pigment that is produced varies with skin type. Darker skin tonings give greater protection from the sun however even darker skinned people can still get melanoma. It is when the melanocytes produce melanin in an unregulated or uncontrolled way that melanoma can develop.

As a melanoma begins to grow it is initially confined to the top layers of the skin, however, if left untreated can spread quickly through the deeper layers where it can then enter the lymphatic system or blood stream and travel to almost any part of the body, especially the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, brain and other areas of the skin. It is particularly dangerous when this spread occurs, and if surgery is not possible or is unsuccessful, the melanoma quickly becomes life threatening.
Melanoma can also arise on areas of the skin that are not exposed to the sun.

Development of melanoma

Ultra-violet (UV) radiation from sunlight (and tanning beds) plays a very important role in the development of melanoma and other skin cancers. Research has found that the rates of melanoma in Australia are higher near the coastline and it is reasoned that this is due to lifestyle factors, outdoor activity and greater sun exposure. The rates are also higher in Australia's northern states due to the greater intensity of the sun.