4.8 million people in NSW were sunburnt last summer

Cancer Council NSW today released data showing that 62% of people across the state were sunburnt one or more times during last summer, and is urging people to protect their skin this year to help reduce the 4,900 people expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer.

Liz King, Cancer Council NSW’s Skin Cancer Prevention Manager, said the findings remind us that, as we enter summer, we need to be aware of the dangers of UV and the fact that UV reaches extreme levels across NSW at this time of year.

“Sunburn and tanning are signs that skin cells are in trauma, it means damage has been done. Even though sunburn will eventually fade, it causes long term damage and it is this damage that can lead to melanoma developing. Even mild sunburn can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, and the more often you are burnt and the more severe the sunburn is, the higher your risk will be.”

The study also showed that one in eight people never use sun protection. Ms King said, “This is very alarming. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, and 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Despite this, we’re seeing that not enough people are taking care of their skin, particularly in summer when UV is at its most dangerous.”

“The good news is, skin cancer is highly preventable, and this makes our message simple -protect your skin and you will reduce your risk. The best way to protect your skin this summer is to use all five forms of sun protection: Slip. Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide. It’s as easy as slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen, slapping on a hat, seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses,” Ms King continued.

“Let’s make sun protection part of our daily routine, like brushing our teeth and wearing a seatbelt, and not wait for the signs of sunburn or tanning before thinking about protecting our skin,” Ms King concluded.

/Public Release. View in full here.