23 July 2018
Despite the cold start to winter in South Australia, Cancer Council SA is reminding students to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide when they go back to school this week.
From the start of term three the UV index will start to rise to skin damaging levels of three and above, which is high enough to damage unprotected skin. In South Australia, this occurs from the start of August to the end of April, coinciding with school terms one, three and four.
With Melanoma the most common cancer in Australians aged 12 – 24, Cancer Council SA’s General Manager of Services, Research and Public Policy, Alana Sparrow says it’s vital that children and young people are protected from overexposure to UV radiation, particularly across the middle of the day when UV is at its highest.
“The simplest way to ensure this is for schools to implement a comprehensive sun protection policy from the beginning of term three and to download the SunSmart App to keep up to date with daily UV information and local sun protection times,” she said.
“It’s important to remember that UV and heat are not connected. The heat we feel is the presence of infrared radiation, but UV radiation cannot be seen or felt. It is unrelated to temperature and its damage to the skin is cumulative and irreversible.
“Even on cool or cloudy days, like those we experience throughout August, the potential for skin damage is significant.”
“Here at Cancer Council SA, we are passionate about educating all South Australians on how to cut their cancer risk, and sun protection is a huge part of that. We know overexposure to UV radiation during childhood and adolescence increases the risk of developing skin cancer in later life, which is why it’s so critical that good sun protection habits start early and continue throughout adulthood,” she said.
The SunSmart Team at Cancer Council SA can assist schools in developing a sun protection policy that protects staff and students in their care.
In addition, advice, training and a range of resources can also be provided to help schools meet the South Australian Department for Education’s sun protection requirements.
These requirements are endorsed by Cancer Council SA and will allow schools to be recognised alongside more than 780 SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Centres across South Australia.
To date, more than 110,000 South Australian children are protected every year through the National SunSmart Schools Program.
Notes to Editor
- Melanoma is the most common cancer in Australians aged 12 – 24
- At least two in three people are diagnosed with skin cancer before aged 70
- Sun exposure is responsible for 99% of all non-melanoma and 95% of melanoma skin cancers.
- Cancer Council recommends sun protection whenever the UV is three and above. In South Australia, that is during terms one, three and four.
- To minimise sun damage, you should protect your skin in 5 ways when UV is three or above:
- Slip on some sun protective clothing
- Slop on SPF 30, or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen
- Slap on a shady hat that protects the head, face, ears and neck
- Seek shade whenever possible
- Slide on some wraparound sunglasses