Large tattoos covering dangerous melanomas concern experts

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Monday, 4 February 2019, 11:59a.m.
Photo / Getty Images

There are concerns early melanomas are being missed on people with large coverage tattoos.

Skin cancer diagnostician Clare Gunn says research shows 36 percent of adults under the age of 30 now have tattoos.

She says ink makes it harder to detect melanomas early and solid black sleeves and backs quadruple the time it takes to do a skin check.

Gunn told Mike Hosking that's a problem as New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world.

"It's incredibly difficult finding them beneath a lot of ink. 70 to 80-percent of melanomas develop in normal skin as a new mole  so you don't know where they're going to crop up."

She says she'd never tell someone not to get a tattoo, but people need to be informed of the risks.

New Zealand's melanoma incidence rate is the worst in the world. Of the 82,000 New Zealanders getting skin cancer every year, around 4000 people will have the most serious type - melanoma.

LISTEN ABOVE AS CLARE GUNN SPEAKS TO MIKE HOSKING