As the UV starts to rise, new data from the South Australian Cancer Registry shows that every year, more than double the number of South Aussie men are dying from melanoma than women.
With Cancer Council SA launching their new sun protection campaign today in partnership with Wellbeing SA, Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris says that the research shows men still aren’t getting the SunSmart message.
“We know that Australia is one of the skin cancer capitals in the world. In 2019, 879 South Australians were diagnosed with melanoma, with men disproportionately represented compared to women.”
Cancer Council’s latest data shows that men are less likely to protect their skin than women, with approximately one third of South Australian men (33%) still getting sunburnt at least once in 2020-21 summer.
The new research has prompted Cancer Council SA and Wellbeing SA to launch the ‘Same Goes For You’ SunSmart campaign.
The campaign, which targets South Aussie men, highlights that when you cover things up, they last longer. Cancer Council SA Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris says the same rule applies to ‘things’ like your car, your deck and your barbecue, and your skin.
“Protecting your skin through the five SunSmart measures – slipping on sun protective clothing, slopping on sunscreen, slapping on a hat, seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses is the best way to protect against harmful UV radiation.”
With the UV levels rising rapidly over spring months and reaching very high to extreme levels ahead of summer, sun protection is particularly important as families get ready to enjoy outdoor activities.
“It’s really important that South Aussie men get on board with sun protection and set a good example for children. We know sun protection is the best way to reduce you and your family’s skin cancer risk, and more importantly, make sure that you’re around to continue to enjoy the things you love with those that mean the most to you.”
Darren Adams knows all too well the impact of a skin cancer diagnosis. He was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2018 after noticing a sore on his face that didn’t heal.
“I went to visit my GP, thinking it was a sore from my cricket helmet and he confirmed that it was actually a basal cell carcinoma, which was a bit shocking. Especially when he said I’d had to have it cut out and stitched up.”
“Around March 2021, I thought the scar was looking like it had changed, so I returned to my doctor for a check-up. Sure enough, the cancer was back. Two weeks later I had surgery, where they test the cancer as they cut—and remove more, if needed. The good thing is they try to get all the cancer in one go.”
Unfortunately, the surgeon had to make a wider incision in Darren’s forehead than expected—it couldn’t simply be stitched back together, or he’d have a permanently raised right eyebrow.
“Instead, they had to carve a big reverse C in my head to have enough skin to stretch down to accommodate what they’d taken out. As a result, my forehead is quite stretched, the recovery was slow. A quarter of my head remains numb, and my right eye feels like it’s open whenever it’s actually closed.”
“In the past I was a bit blasé about sun protection, which didn’t help. All you guys out there, playing sport or spending time outside, learn from my experience. It’s not hot days that cause skin cancer, its UV radiation, so make sure you check the UV and cover up—sunscreen alone isn’t going to cut it.”
The “Same Goes For You SunSmart Campaign starts today and will run throughout summer. It is co-funded by Cancer Council SA and Wellbeing SA.
For more information on the campaign, visit the Cancer Council SA website here.
Notes to Editor:
- Australia has one of the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world.
- UV is responsible for up to 99 per cent of all non-melanoma (keratinocyte carcinoma) and up to 95 per cent of melanoma skin cancers.
- Cancer Council recommends sun protection whenever the UV is 3 and above, even on cool or cloudy days.
- To minimise skin damage, it is recommended you protect your skin in five ways when UV is 3 and above:
- Slip on some sun protective clothing
- Slop on SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum water resistant sunscreen
- Slap on a shady hat that protects the head, face, ears and neck
- Seek shade whenever possible
- Slide on some wraparound sunglasses
- If you work outdoors, sun protection is recommended year round during day light hours, regardless of UV Index.
- You can check the UV on the free SunSmart app and widget.