Campaign to take on sun protection complacency

November 25, 2023 BY

An image from SunSmart Australia's new "Don't Let Cancer In" campaign. Photo :SUPPLIED

The organisation has acknowledges the positive progress in skin cancer prevention in Victoria, following insights from the 2022 Summer Sun Protection Survey (Life in Australia) reporting 87 per cent of respondents agreed that if they regularly protect themselves from the sun, they can avoid skin cancer.

However, the research also showed only 50 per cent of Victorians were using sun protection as part of their daily routine during summer, and it is often the everyday activities that leave them exposed to UV radiation.

More than a third (36 per cent) of recent sunburns occurred when people were undertaking everyday activities such as walking, gardening, and playing with children, and nearly a third of sunburns (29 per cent) occurring at home or a friend’s house.

To remind Victorians of the importance of sun protection over summer, SunSmart has launched the “Don’t Let Cancer In” campaign, supported by the Victorian Department of Health.

Cancer Council Victoria head of SunSmart Emma Glassenbury said while it was fantastic to see the high level of understanding of the connection between using sun protection and reducing your risk of skin cancer, ongoing work needed to be done to ensure sun protection was part of everyone’s daily routine.

“We’ve made great and significant strides in Victoria in terms of reducing the burden of skin cancer, particularly in younger age groups, but we are concerned some population groups are not heeding the sun protection message and suffering the consequences.

“That’s why this new campaign is addressing complacency head on and will speak to parts of our most at risk population groups including men who are twice as likely to die from melanoma and those in regional areas who are diagnosed at 44 per cent more than those in metropolitan areas.

“We live in a beautiful state which we want to go out and enjoy, but we need to do this being conscious of the extreme levels of UV that puts us at risk.

“We must all remember repeated exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause skin cancer, including the deadliest form, melanoma, which can spread from the skin to vital organs like the brain, lungs and liver.”

UV radiation emitted by the sun cannot be seen or felt.

In Victoria’s summer months, the UV will consistently be at extreme levels, meaning it can cause damage to unprotected skin in a matter of minutes.

Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas said the personal impact of skin cancer on Victorians and their families could be devastating.

“This is an important campaign for Victoria, as we know skin cancer is preventable.

“We want to see families across the state using sun protection every time they head outdoors when the UV index is 3 or above.

“Skin cancer can happen to anyone. The best way to stay safe from harmful UV waves is to plan ahead: stay indoors on extreme UV days and seek shade where you can, remember your sunscreen, and cover up with loose clothing and a hat.”

For more information, head to sunsmart.com.au

Surf Coast Times – Free local news in your inbox

Breaking news, community, lifestyle, real estate, and sport.