Did you know that Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world?
More than 2000 people in Australia die from skin cancer each year, and Cancer Council estimates that Australia spends more than $1 billion per year treating skin cancer, with costs increasing substantially over the past few years.
National Skin Cancer Week acts as an important reminder to use sun protection and of the importance of early skin cancer detection for all Australians.
How to prevent skin cancer
Most skin cancers can be prevented by the use of good sun protection. That’s why during National Skin Cancer Action Week, all Australians are urged to use the five forms of sun protection. These are to:
- slip on sun-protective clothing
- slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
- slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- seek shade
- slide on sunglasses.
A combination of the five measures, along with getting to know your skin and regularly checking for any changes, are key.
What causes skin cancer?
The majority of skin cancers in Australia are caused by
In Australia, almost 14% of adults, 24% of teenagers and 8% of children are sunburnt on summer weekends. Many people get sunburnt when they are taking part in water sports and activities at the beach or a pool, as well gardening at home or having a barbeque.
Solariums emit UVA and UVB radiation, both known causes of cancer. Cancer Council Australia does not recommend solarium use for cosmetic tanning under any circumstances.
Almost half of Australian adults hold the misguided belief that a tan looks healthy. But a tan is a sign of skin cells in trauma.
With two in three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70, the action week is an important reminder of the risks of exposure to UV radiation, the need for sun protection and early skin cancer detection for all Australians.
What you can do today to prevent skin cancer
1. Be Sun Smart
Put on a sunscreen if you know you’re going to be in the sun for a while. It’s better to prevent the problem beforehand than to fix it after you get sunburnt.
2. Know Your Risk
The sooner you can identify the risk, the less chance of you developing skin cancer.
It is recommended that all adults should have their skin check every 3 months or once a year at least.