November 17–23, 2019
National Skin Cancer Action Week is an annual initiative which sees Cancer Council Australia and the Australasian College of Dermatologists join forces for a dual focus on skin cancer prevention and early detection.
So, this National Skin Cancer Action Week we are asking everyone to not get caught out by sunburn and #OwnYourTone—not just during the week, but all throughout summer.
UV and young people
New national research shows that 1 in 4 (26 per cent) of teenagers are getting sunburnt on summer weekends. Studies have demonstrated that UV exposure during the first 18 years of life is the factor which has the biggest impact on your future risk of skin cancer. But despite this alarming statistic, 38 per cent of teenagers still want to tan.
There exist many misconceptions about tanning. Here are the truths:
- There’s no such thing as a ‘healthy tan’
Any change in your skin tone—from tanned skin to painful sunburn—is a sign of damage being done. This significantly increases your risk of getting skin cancer, and with melanoma being the second most common cancer in young people aged 15–29, it’s not only a concern for later in life.
- You can’t always ‘just cut it out’
Skin cancer claims over 2,000 Australian lives every year. If caught early, some spots can be surgically removed—but prevention is always safer than relying purely on catching cancer early.
- A tan is going to make you look better
Think that a tan will help give you that youthful glow? Think again. It’s believed that up to 80 per cent of premature facial ageing—such as wrinkles and fine lines—is caused by too much sun.
Cut your risk of skin cancer
The biggest positive to skin cancer is that most can be prevented by the use of good sun protection. That’s why this National Skin Cancer Action Week, we are urging all Australians to #OwnYourTone and use the five forms of sun protection:
- slip on sun-protective clothing
- slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
- slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- seek shade
- slide on sunglasses
By getting to know your skin and regularly self-examining for signs of damage, you can help to catch cancer early and give yourself the best chance of successful treatment. You can learn more about self-checking your skin here.
If you do find a new spot—or changes in shape, size or colour to an existing spot—visit your GP immediately.