Every November, Cancer Council Australia and the Australasian College of Dermatologists come together for National Skin Cancer Action Week. The week is a great reminder for everyone of the importance of early detection and the use of sun protection.
Skin cancer in Australia
Every year, skin cancers make up around 80% of all new diagnoses in Australia. Australians have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Around 2000 people die from the disease every year. The most startling fact is that more than 95% of skin cancers are caused by unprotected sun exposure. This means it’s almost entirely preventable.
Research has shown that people aged 25-44 are most likely to get sunburnt during peak UV times, and also least concerned about skin cancer. National Skin Cancer Action Week is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of being SunSmart.
By preventing sunburn and sun damage, you are reducing your risk of skin cancer, including the potentially deadly melanoma. The use of sun protection is recommended whenever UV levels reach 3 or higher. This means majority of Australians should be using sun protection at least from September – April.
How can I protect myself?
There are five simple steps you can take to protect yourself from sun damage, and greatly reduce your risk. They are:
- Slip on sun-protective clothing
- Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply every two hours afterwards
- Slap on a broad-brim hat to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade
- Slide on sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian standards
Taking these steps, along with getting to know your skin and regularly checking for any changes, are key.
Dr Stan Green (Sydney City Skin Cancer Clinic principal doctor) and our team of doctor’s are available to provide extensive skin checks if you are at all concerned about your skin. To book an appointment for a skin check with Dr Stan Green, or any of our experienced GP’s, please click here.