LETTERS: Scary number of people sunburnt last year


Queensland is home to stunning beaches and superb summer days but, unfortunately, it also

holds the title as the skin cancer capital of the world.

Cancer Council Queensland’s most recent Everyday Health Survey explored how

Queenslanders keep safe from the sun.

This research identified that though one in four people think their knowledge of sun safety is excellent, most fall short when put to the test.

Alarmingly, 44 per cent of participants who rated their knowledge as excellent had been sunburnt in the last year.

Considering the state’s high rates of skin cancer, there is a strong need to re-educate and generate awareness when it comes to sun safety.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Queensland with 4180 people diagnosed

with melanoma and over 360,000 non-melanoma skin cancers treated each year.

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.

Almost all skin cancers (95-99 per cent) are caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, meaning it is an almost entirely preventable cancer.

Results showed Queenslanders who rate their knowledge of sun protection as excellent are still

confused about the difference between heat and UV radiation with less than half of participants (45 per cent) knowing that the UV index was the most useful measure to tell them the risk of sunburn for the day.

One in five respondents (22 per cent) reported that temperature was the most useful way to tell you the risk of sunburn, when temperature is not 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.

The Queensland-first findings emphasise the urgent need for investment in a mass media skin

cancer prevention campaign, something that has not been provided to the public for over a


Positively, there was a strong desire from respondents to improve their knowledge and

behaviour, with 95 per cent supporting a sun protection mass media campaign.

Cancer Council Queensland is calling on the Queensland Government to invest $3 million per

annum in a mass media skin cancer prevention campaign to improve community attitudes and

behaviour towards sun protection and reduce the burden of skin cancer in Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders slip, slop, slap, seek and slide

whenever heading outdoors.

Chris McMillan

Cancer Council Queensland CEO.


Harry's View
Harry's View


BIG FAN. Happy Birthday to The Bully editor Melanie Plane for yesterday. Great to see a local product of Frenchville State School and North Rocky High doing such a stellar job.


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