This award is testament to their global leadership in transforming melanoma, Australia’s national cancer, into a largely curable disease and saving many thousands of lives, and their intellect and dedication in applying melanoma science to develop world-first treatments for Richard’s brain cancer.
Our congratulations also to all other Australians of the Year and to all nominees, what a remarkable and inspirational group of Australians, all making an amazing contribution in their respective fields.
As Co-Medical Directors at Melanoma Institute Australia (affiliated with Sydney University), Prof Georgina Long and Prof Richard Scolyer have turned a diagnosis of advanced melanoma from a death sentence into a curable disease for more than half of patients.
“Our goal is now to cure the other 50 per cent and, in doing so, hopefully help other cancers as well,” Prof Long said.
During their acceptance speech Prof Long and Prof Scolyer reminded us that prevention is always better than a cure, and in most cases melanoma is preventable through sun safe behaviour, and we need to change Australia’s tanning culture.
“Our bronzed Aussie culture is actually killing us. So we call on advertisers and social media influencers – stop glamourising tanning, or using it to sell or advertise or entertain,” Prof Long said.
“Our mission is zero deaths from melanoma. To reach it, in addition to prevention, we need a targeted screening program and greater investment in research.”
Beyond melanoma and in the wider cancer field, Prof Long and Prof Scolyer raised the need for more courage to push treatment boundaries, backed by science, including more clinical trials.
Photos courtesy of NADC / Salty Dingo.
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