Skin cancer prevention programs
Damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation is permanent and irreversible, with exposure during childhood a critical factor in determining lifetime skin cancer risk. With children at school and/or care during peak UV times of the day, it is vital that they are protected from overexposure to UV radiation.
The SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Program provides early childhood centres, schools and out of school hours care services with advice and support in developing and implementing sun protection policies that protect children and staff from UV radiation, plus a range of educational resources for staff to use in their teaching programs.
Research has shown that melanoma rates have declined in young Australians who have been exposed to sun protection programs and messages since birth, indicating the need for continued investment in preventative programs. Funded solely through community donations, Cancer Council SA is able to offer the program to all schools and early childhood centres across the state at no cost, protecting approximately 114,000 South Australian children every year.
It is estimated that around 200 melanomas and 34,000 other skin cancers per year are caused by occupational exposures in Australia. Implementing a comprehensive sun protection program, including a range of protective measures, helps to prevent sun-related injuries and reduce the suffering and costs associated with skin cancer. For many South Australian outdoor workers, recommended occupational UV exposure limits are being far exceeded, increasing the lifetime risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma.
Through your support, Cancer Council SA is able to offer education sessions to organisations that employ outdoor workers, providing important information about identifying and managing UV radiation exposure in the workplace.
Cancer Council SA also works alongside businesses to offer advice and support in assisting them to develop sun protection policies to meet their work health and safety obligations. The benefits of this program are sustainable and long term and it can only be implemented through the ongoing support of the South Australian community.
In South Australia alone, there are over 25,000 people diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer and about 800 people diagnosed with melanoma every year.
Through your support, Cancer Council SA is able to deliver annual mass media campaigns to raise awareness about UV and sun protection, encouraging people to protect their skin when the UV level is 3 and above.
These campaigns are vital and when they don’t run, community rates for adopting sun protection measures (use of hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, shade, adequate clothing) decline, resulting in an increased risk of skin cancer across the South Australian community.
At least one third of cancer deaths in Australia are preventable, and while there are some cancer risk factors that we cannot control (such as age or family history), lifestyle has a big impact on cancer risk.
Through your support, Cancer Council SA is able to offer Cut Your Cancer Risk (CYCR) information sessions for workplaces, community, sporting and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups to help educate South Australians on how, through making healthy lifestyle changes, they can reduce their cancer risk.
CYCR presentations focus on prevention, cancer screening and modifiable lifestyle factors to reduce cancer risk. We also actively seek opportunities to raise awareness of cancer risk factors through media and social media campaigns, particularly during awareness weeks and months, to give all South Australians the best chance possible of a cancer free future.