2024 Australians of the Year urge fellow Aussies to step up to stop the glamourisation of tanning and help reach zero deaths from melanoma.

Melanoma March events to be held across the country for 13th year to raise awareness and support Melanoma Institute Australia’s life-saving research

Melanoma Institute Australia’s (MIA) Co-Medical Directors and 2024 Australians of the Year, Professor Georgina Long AO and Professor Richard Scolyer AO, are urging Australians to join the national Melanoma March campaign to raise vital research funds and add their voices to calls to stop the glamourisation of tanning.

Professor Long and Professor Scolyer were awarded the nation’s most prestigious honour, 2024 Australians of the Year, for revolutionising melanoma treatment and their advocacy for sun-safe behaviour. During their emotional acceptance speech they called for urgent action to stop the glamourisation of tanning.

‘There is nothing healthy about a tan. Nothing. Our bronzed Aussie culture is actually killing us,’ Professor Long said. ‘So we call on advertisers, and social media influencers – stop glamourising tanning, or using it to sell or entertain. And our fellow Australians – when you see it, call it out, and demand change,’ she said.

‘Imagine the outcry if smoking was still glamourised like this,’ Professor Scolyer added. ‘We must elevate sun-safety to equal status as other life saving safety measures like seatbelts and helmets.’

Professors Long and Scolyer are asking fellow Aussies to amplify their calls for change by joining Melanoma Institute Australia’s national Melanoma March campaign. Family-friendly events will be held across the country during the month of March, with registrations now open at www.melanomamarch.org.au

Organised by volunteer committees impacted by melanoma, the Melanoma March events raise vital funds for melanoma research, which will also impact other cancers, and provide an opportunity for patients and families to come together to support each other and remember those lost to the disease.

This year’s campaign also aims to shine a spotlight on the dangers of tanning and the need for greater investment in national prevention strategies.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world. One person is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes and one person dies from the disease every 6 hours. It is the most common cancer affecting 20㳹-year-old Australians.

‘Changing attitudes towards tanning and improving the community’s understanding about prevention, early detection, and year-round sun safety is crucial to stopping more lives being cut short by melanoma,’ said MIA CEO Matthew Browne.

Those who can’t attend an event can still support the campaign by getting active and hosting a March Your Way activity with friends or individually.

Register now