2006 Melanoma Awareness Campaign
10 March 2006
In 2006 more than 8,000 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma.
Every year, melanoma kills over 1,000 Australians. Many of these melanoma victims will be young, so that melanoma accounts for the loss of more productive years of life than any other cancer.
Melanoma is a particular problem in Australia because more than half of the population have a skin type that is particularly prone to develop skin cancers. This is a dangerous situation when combined with the high levels of UV exposure from sunshine to which most Australians are inevitably exposed.
Despite strenuous attempts over many years to increase public awareness and to encourage sun-safe behaviour, the incidence of melanoma has continued to increase steadily Australia-wide as it has throughout the world. It is now the third most common cancer in Australia in both men and women.
If diagnosed early and treated appropriately, however, most people who develop a melanoma can be cured. The tragedy is that many melanomas are not diagnosed early, because when the disease is not recognised until an advanced stage, cure may not be possible. Spread to lymph glands and internal organs may occur, with an ultimately fatal outcome.
It was clear therefore that if the Melanoma Foundation wanted to make a difference we needed to develop an effective melanoma awareness campaign.
In December 2005 the Melanoma Foundation engaged the services of David Ohana, Insomnia Films to develop a series of Public Service Announcements (PSA's) to promote melanoma awareness. It was agreed that the campaign should have a strong focus on early detection and prevention.
Following discussions on a range of concepts, Jacquie Stratford, General Manager of the Melanoma Foundation observed that "nothing was as powerful as the patients stories from the 60 minutes programs that had screened earlier that year". Copies of the program were reviewed and an approach was made to the Team at 60 minutes as to whether it would be feasible to use the footage from the 60 minutes programs to develop a series of PSA's.
Stephen Taylor, the producer responsible for the two programs "Sunburnt Country and Lifesavers" and Tara Brown the presenter from these programs were both very supportive of the concept and agreed to approach the Executive John Westacott.
Permission was given to develop the PSA's on the proviso that full approval from the patients and their families was given.
The Melanoma Foundation is honoured to bring you the first PSA in this series, Steven's Story - PDF.
It was a privilege to work with Steven's wife Melanie and to be associated with this most powerful message.
The Melanoma Foundation trust that many more Australians will be moved by Steven's message and will change their behaviours accordingly.