National Skin Cancer Action Week is a week where the Cancer Council and the Australasian College of Dermatologists team up to share important advice on how to enjoy the sunshine safely, and keep yourself protected from damaging UV rays. The week acts as an important reminder for all Australians to use sun protection and of the importance of early skin cancer detection.
Skin cancer is largely preventable, and if caught early, it's usually curable. Since most skin cancers are linked to sun exposure, it's important to take precautions when spending time outdoors, no matter what time of year. Too much sun can increase your risk for skin cancer and lead to premature skin ageing.
The iconic Slip, Slop, Slap campaign is 40 years old this year and although the catchy tune and silly little bird is synonymous with heading outdoors for older Australians, younger Australians need more education when it comes to sun protection. Although most Australians know the sun is dangerous as well as beautiful, Queensland still has the highest rate of melanoma cases in the world. Currently two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 every year, and around 2000 Australians die from this disease.
One in four Australians don’t use SPF as part of their daily routine. A common belief is that only sun seeking ‘tanners’ will develop skin cancer or melanoma. Excessive exposure to the sun does not just happen when deliberately seeking a tan. In a high UV environment like Australia, we can be exposed to dangerous levels of UV radiation during all sorts of daily activities, such as working outdoors, gardening, walking the dog or having a picnic. This sun exposure adds up over time, increasing the risk of skin cancer. Creating a habit of applying SPF 50 regularly throughout the day can greatly reduce the chances of developing serious cancers.
National Skin Cancer Action Week focuses on making Australians aware of the Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide message and aims to educate Australian’s to take the following actions when heading outside:
- Slip on some protective clothing, such as long sleeved tops to cover your skin.
- Slop on some sunscreen - SPF50 or higher!
- Slap on a hat to keep yourself shaded.
- Seek out shade to keep cool and out of the sun.
- Slide on your sunglasses, making sure they meet Australian Standards of course.
"The job is not done until we are all safe from the sun".