Dr Tallon supported the publication of recent research showing NZ now has the highest rates of melanoma in the world. His media release comments are outlined below as reported in the NZ herald.
Dr Ben Tallon, speaking on behalf of Melanoma New Zealand and MelNet, a network of professionals working together to reduce the incidence and impact of melanoma in New Zealand, says the Government needs to "get serious" about preventing skin cancer, with a serious commitment to funding prevention strategies.
"The study found that, while Australia's melanoma rates have been declining since 2005, our rates are still increasing and are not expected to start falling until about 2017. The Government is now facing big health bills as increasing numbers of people develop invasive melanoma," he said.
"This study should be a wake-up call. Skin cancer prevention initiatives are highly cost effective and an important public health investment.
"It's an investment the New Zealand Government must make."
The Government is also under pressure to fund melanoma drug Keytruda in New Zealand.
Labour wants Pharmac to be given funds to commit to new drugs like Keytruda -- which is funded in other countries including Australia and, for a set period while the drug's effectiveness is still being tested.
• Melanoma rates in New Zealand increased from about 26 cases per 100,000 people in 1982 to about 50 cases per 100,000 people in 2011.
• Australia's melanoma rates peaked at about 49 cases per 100,000 people in 2005 and declined to about 48 cases per 100,000 people in 2011.
• Researchers predict that New Zealand's melanoma rates will start to decline from next year and reach about 46 cases per 100,000 people by 2031.
• Australia's rates are expected to keep falling to about 41 cases per 100,000 people by 2031.
• Rates in the UK, Sweden, Norway and the Caucasian population of the United States are predicted to keep increasing until at least 2022.