Aussies still getting sunburn: Cancer Day report

hot sun at midday: sunburn

New research released by Cancer Council on World Cancer Day today (4 Feb) shows that approximately 430,000 more Australian adults are getting sunburned on the weekend than they were four years ago, increasing their risk of skin cancer.

Findings from Cancer Council’s National Sun Survey suggest the downward trend in adult sunburn since 2003/04 has hit a hurdle, with adults potentially becoming more complacent about the dangers of excessive exposure to UV rays.

The Chair of Cancer Council’s National Skin Cancer Committee, Vanessa Rock, says the latest data shows that on a summer weekend roughly 2.4 million Aussies are getting sunburnt.

“This means that compared to four years ago, approximately 430,000 more Aussie adults are getting burnt and putting themselves at risk of skin cancer,” she says.

She says the data is a wake-up call that highlighted the need for Government to re-invest in national mass market skin cancer prevention campaigns to ensure adults remained vigilant about skin cancer.

“While this latest research demonstrates the number of Australians who were getting sunburnt is still significantly lower than 10 years ago, the recent increase is cause for concern.

“The survey suggests men in particular are neglecting sun protection, with 18% getting sunburnt on the weekend, compared to 12% of women.”

Ms Rock said possible explanations for the higher rates of sunburn included an increase in the amount of time adults spend outdoors during peak UV periods.

“Our survey indicates that adults are spending more time outdoors in peak UV times than four years ago, increasing their chances of getting sunburnt.

“We also know that 18% of adults didn’t protect their skin from the sun when they spent more than an hour outside during summer.”

“Almost all skin cancers are caused by UV exposure, so it’s important organisations like Cancer Council, as well as government, continue to remind Australians that skin cancer is largely preventable and encourage them to take the simple steps to lower their skin cancer risk – slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.”

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