The Cancer Council is urging the State Government to help fund a mass awareness campaign.
The Cancer Council is urging the State Government to help fund a mass awareness campaign.

Survey prompts calls for mass sun safety campaign

A new study has revealed that many Queenslanders over-estimate their sun safety knowledge.

Cancer Council Queensland's most recent Everyday Health Survey found 44 per cent of people who rated their knowledge as excellent had been sunburnt in the past year.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan said considering the state's high rates of skin cancer, there was a strong need to re-educate and generate awareness about sun safety.

"Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Queensland with 4,180 people diagnosed with melanoma and over 360,000 non-melanoma skin cancers treated each year," she said.

"This survey makes it clear that more needs to be done to ensure Queenslanders know about sun protection, so they begin taking action to properly protect themselves."

The survey questioned 1531 people, 5 per cent of whom were from Central Queensland.

According to Cancer Council Queensland data from 2017, melanoma was the second most common cancer in men and women in the region, and each year there were 169 diagnoses and 21 deaths.

Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, meaning they are preventable.

The results of the Everyday Health Survey also showed that Queenslanders were unsure of the difference between heat and UV radiation, with less than half of participants knowing that the UV index was the most useful measure to tell them the risk of sunburn for the day.

One in five respondents reported that temperature was the most useful way to tell you the risk of sunburn, despite temperature not being related to UV radiation strength.

"Findings from the Everyday Health Survey show that less than half of respondents knew to start protecting themselves from the sun when the UV level reached three or above," Ms McMillan said.

She said the findings emphasised the need for a skin cancer prevention campaign and called on the State Government to invest $3 million to improve behaviour towards sun protection and reduce the burden of skin cancer in Queensland.

The Cancer Council recommends using sunscreen whenever UV is forecast to reach three or higher, which is every day in Queensland.



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