Skin cancer researcher Dr Marjan Naeini shares her sun safety tips

05 May 2023

By Alexandra Lapa

May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Bust common misconceptions about this deadliest form of skin cancer by learning some tips from Dr Marjan Naeni.

Cure Cancer grant recipient Dr Marjan Naeni

We had a quick chat about sun safety and skin cancer concerns with Dr Marjan Mojtabavi Naeini, one of Cure Cancer’s 2022 researchers. She was the recipient of the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre (ASSC) Early Career Researcher Award in 2019, and she is currently based at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

On skin cancer research

Dr Marjan is optimistic about the new trends in skin cancer treatment. “
Melanoma researchers have introduced a new treatment approach called immunotherapy which helps in utilising the patient's immune system to kill cancer cells. This approach has proven to be effective even in treating advanced melanoma.” 

But even though we have had impressive advancements in skin cancer research, she is quick to point out the benefits of practising sun-safe habits and some risks that not a lot of people may be aware of. “People with fairer skin, lighter hair, weakened immune system and family history of melanoma have higher risks of melanoma. It is important for everyone to thoroughly examine their skin and visit dermatologists regularly.“

On sun safety

Not only is Dr Marjan a brilliant researcher and computational biologist, she is also an avid swimmer. In fact, she used to swim professionally as a teenager. She knows the importance of sun safety both as a skin cancer researcher and as an athlete. “It is crucial to wear sunscreen when stepping outside even on cloudy days or if staying in the shade.” UV rays that damage skin cells and increase the risk of melanoma are present all-year round, and not just during hot seasons. And even in the shade, UV rays can reach you or reflect off surfaces such as water or cement. Sunscreen for the whole body such as Solbari’s range of SPF50+ can help protect from harmful UV.

As a cancer researcher, Dr Marjan hopes to spread awareness about the prevention of skin cancers, melanomas, and sun damage.

“Since I was a school girl, I have always thought of contributing to society. I have seen people who suffered from cancer and yet no cure for some cancer patients who are beloved by their families and friends. I have been thinking of the day when we find a suitable cure for all cancer patients. Still not there, but I have been fighting for a world without cancer.”

Your impact on skin cancer research

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, of which melanoma is the deadliest. It is estimated that 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

Cure Cancer funds brilliant emerging researchers who are investigating pioneering approaches to skin cancer and help improve detection, prevention, and treatment. Your support is crucial in helping them achieve breakthroughs that can save lives.