TAKE CARE: Dalby's Nev Volker showing the scars of his melanoma, after statistics show region is 61 per cent above the national average.
TAKE CARE: Dalby's Nev Volker showing the scars of his melanoma, after statistics show region is 61 per cent above the national average. Megan Masters

Dalby a skin cancer capital

WHEN you think of melanoma, it's easy to focus on farmers and other people who spend much of their lives outdoors, but it pays for everyone to be vigilant, according to Dalby business owner Nev Volker.

Mr Volker has had a number of skin cancers removed, despite spending the majority of his childhood and adult years indoors.

His warning comes after the Australian Cancer Atlas showed Dalby residents were a whopping 61per cent more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than the national average.

The comprehensive map shows the incidence of a range of cancers by location and there were some worrying statistics for Dalby residents.

On top of the high melanoma risk, the Australian Cancer Atlas showed residents of the region were 41per cent more likely to suffer head and neck cancers.

They were also 14per cent more likely to suffer bowel cancer and 11per cent more likely to suffer leukaemia.

On the positive side, access to treatment and a vigilance among residents meant melanoma sufferers were actually 3per cent less likely to die from the condition than the national average.

Mr Volker said the main factor putting him at risk of melanoma was complications from kidney transplant medications, but he came across plenty of people from all walks of life who had undergone melanoma treatment.

"Another friend of mine is younger than me, probably about 44, and he had a skin cancer cut off his face and he works indoors,” Mr Volker said.

"My business partner had one cut off his leg and you see the farmers come in with scars from them.”

He said people would do well to be vigilant with skin checks, which were quick, non-invasive and cheap enough to come by.

However, Mr Volker said one thing to be aware of was that doctors weren't infallible, so if you had a spot you were worried about it was important to point it out.

"If you feel there is something not right on the outside of your body, get it checked,” he said.

"If you're aware of something specific, then ask your doctor about it.

"I went in worried about a spot on my leg and the doctor checked me over then asked what it was I was worried about.

"I showed him my leg and he said, 'Oh yes, that's a bit concerning'.”


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