Cancer Council NSW data reveals that only a quarter of people in NSW use sun protection year-round, even though UV is high enough to cause cancer for at least 10 months a year in NSW.
Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, Liz King says, “This is incredibly alarming because every 30 minutes in Australia someone is diagnosed with melanoma and one of us dies from the disease every five hours. That is why, this World Melanoma Day, we are urging people to make regular sun protection a priority.
“Skin cancer has come to be known as our national cancer, it is the most common cancer in Australia, with two in three Australians diagnosed in their lifetime. The good news is, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers, meaning that when we protect our skin from the sun we significantly reduce our skin cancer risk.”
The charity’s data also showed a significant decrease in the use of sun protection when UV levels are three and above.
“What many people don’t know is that five forms of sun protection are essential whenever the UV is three or above, even on cool and cloudy days. In NSW, that’s for at least 10 months of the year. We can’t afford to become complacent as the weather cools down,” Ms King continues.
Protect yourself in five ways
Cancer Council NSW recommends using all five forms of sun protection when the UV is three or above:
- SLIP on a shirt
- SLOP on sunscreen
- SLAP on a hat
- SEEK shade
- SLIDE on sunglasses.
“While protecting your skin from UV radiation is the best defence against skin cancer, it is also important to regularly check your skin for new or changed spots. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and most melanomas are found by the person with the melanoma or their partner. If you notice any changes to your skin, make an appointment with your doctor straightaway. You will have a better outcome if the skin cancer is found and treated early,” Ms King concludes.