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New data from the South Australian Population Health Survey shows that in 2022, 34 per cent of adults surveyed reported having been sunburnt in the last 12 months. This National Skin Cancer Action Week, Cancer Council SA and Wellbeing SA have released South Australia’s first Framework to take action against skin cancer and save lives.

The five-year, multi-strategy Framework is the first formal, coordinated approach to skin cancer prevention and early detection in South Australia and contains evidence-based strategies to reduce the rate and impact of skin cancer.

Cancer Council SA Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris said that Cancer Council SA is thrilled to partner with Wellbeing SA to continue to encourage healthy sun protection behaviours in the community.

“This data shows us that not enough South Aussies are taking in the SunSmart message. Any damage to the skin caused by overexposure to harmful UV radiation from the sun, including sunburn, increases your risk of developing skin cancer,” Christine said.

As skin cancer is the most preventable cancer, the primary focus will be on reducing overexposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation and increasing early detection of skin cancer. The Framework has been designed to prioritise high risk populations including children, adolescents and young adults, men aged 40 years and over, and outdoor workers.

“We know that Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world. In 2020, 864 South Australians were diagnosed with melanoma, with men disproportionately represented compared to women,” Christine said.

“Cancer Council SA has been committed to working to prevent skin cancer for decades and thanks to increased public awareness of skin cancer prevention through campaigns like SunSmart, we are seeing a decline in the rates of melanoma in our young people.”

“By working together with Wellbeing SA, I’m confident that we can embed SunSmart practices in future generations and continue to see skin cancer rates decline.”

Craig Denning knows all too well the importance of sun protection since his diagnosis with skin cancer 13 years ago, when he noticed a scab on his nose that never fully healed.

“I played cricket when I was younger and we were spending hours out in the field. We were wearing caps, instead of the broad-brimmed hats, and I know we didn’t apply enough sunscreen. I hate to think of the days where I came out looking like a red lobster,” Craig said.

“Given my time again, I would do things differently. Now I really try to be a good role model and instil into my children how important it is to wear a hat, sunnies, long sleeves and sunscreen.”

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, the Hon Chris Picton MP will join with Cancer Council SA and Wellbeing SA to officially launch the Framework at Cancer Council SA’s offices today.

“We need more South Australians to heed the SunSmart message and protect themselves from skin cancer,” Minister Picton said.

“With summer around the corner, it’s a particularly timely message and I’m pleased to launch this initiative to target those most at risk of skin cancer, with the aim of reducing its impact on South Australians.”

Accompanying the Framework is the first annual Action Plan outlining commitments to continue skin cancer prevention activities in South Australia.

To view the Skin Cancer Prevention Partnership – a Framework for Action 2023-2028 and Action Plan visit

Quotes attributable to Helen Thomas, Interim Executive Director, Prevention and Population Health, Wellbeing SA

We know that cancer has a significant impact on many South Australians and their families every year.

There are measures you can take to ensure you are protecting yourself while in the sun to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, including wearing an SPF 50+ sunscreen, staying in shaded areas while outside and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

I encourage all South Australians to continue to be sun smart as we approach the summer months for another year.