This World Cancer Day, Cancer Council SA is committed to closing the care gap and reducing the rate and impact of cancer on all South Australians.
Held globally on the 4 February every year, World Cancer Day is a global initiative, encouraging communities to work together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live.
Research shows that in Australia, up to 30% of cancers are preventable, however not all South Australians are impacted by cancer equally, with barriers still existing to close the care gap in cancer outcomes.
Cancer Council SA Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris says that stopping smoking and protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation are two key ways South Australians can cut their cancer risk.
9.8% of South Australian adults smoke daily. This figure is more than four times higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, where the daily smoking rate for those aged 18 and over is 40.4%. The daily smoking rate is also higher in South Australians with a mental illness at 19%.
Cancer Council SA Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris said that smoking is still a key determinant for developing cancer and other serious health issues.
“Up to 16 different cancers are caused by smoking tobacco smoking, and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk. Here at Cancer Council SA through our Tackling Tobacco Program we are working with Community Service Organisations whose clients are Aboriginal, people living with a disability or mental illness, empowering their staff to support their clients to quit smoking.
“It is pleasing to know that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who smoke daily has dropped by almost 50,000 since the mid-2000s, however more needs to be done to see continued success.”
“We see this as a critical step in closing the care barriers and supporting vulnerable people to stop smoking,” said Ms Morris
Research shows that men are almost twice as likely as women to die from melanoma and are half as likely as women to apply sunscreen as a part of their routine most days in summer.
Ms Morris said that raising awareness with South Australian men on the importance of sun protection when the UV is 3 and above is key to closing the care gap and reducing skin cancer diagnosis rates.
“The majority of skin cancers can be prevented by using all five forms of sun protection whenever the UV is 3 and above. Slipping on sun protective clothing, slopping on sunscreen, slapping on a hat, seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses ensures that your skin is protected from harmful UV radiation.”
“Campaigns such as “Same Goes For You” which we recently ran in South Australia in conjunction with Wellbeing SA, are key to changing behaviours. We know that if we can get South Australians, particularly those at greater risk, to protect their skin, we will help to save lives,” she said.
For more information on Cancer Council SA’s programs and services, or to access support visit cancersa.org.au.
For more information or to organise an interview ahead of World Cancer Day, contact Natasha Baugh, Communication Manager, Cancer Council SA on 0400 855 244.