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Multimillion dollar campaign to combat ‘national cancer’ in Australia

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An extensive, multimillion-dollar campaign to prevent skin cancer, known as “national cancer,” has been announced by the Australian Government that will commence in December 2022.

To mark the start of National Skin Cancer Action Week, the Australian Government has announced a multimillion-dollar skin cancer prevention campaign – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.

Often called our ‘national cancer’, Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. An estimated two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said that skin cancer claims the lives of more than 2,000 Australians every year. He added that there are easy steps to take to protect ourselves from the sun and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“Fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented by using all five forms of sun protection – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide. Australians will see these messages throughout this summer and next – at the cricket, on TV, on radio, online – to help remind them how to stay safe from our ‘national cancer’,” Butler said.

Delivered in partnership with the Cancer Council, the $10 million national campaign will highlight the importance of being SunSmart to drive down rates of the country’s most common, most costly and one of our most preventable cancers.

It is particularly important that men get the SunSmart message: almost twice as many men as women will die from melanoma this year alone.

Despite this, new research released today by the Cancer Council shows fewer than half (49%) of Aussie men actively seek shade to protect themselves from the sun during summer, and less than a third (29%) regularly use sunscreen.

Australian men aren’t being safe enough in the sun

Megan Varlow of Cancer Council Australia’s Director of Cancer Control Policy said that along with the result, it was also found that almost half, often or always, spend time outside during peak UV hours throughout summer.

“Our new research reinforces that Australians, particularly men, aren’t protecting themselves on a daily basis. This tells us that more needs to be done to remind people of the easy steps they can take to reduce their risk of skin cancer every day,” Varlow said.

A skin cancer survivor from South Australia, John Clements also said, “I grew up in a time where no one knew better. We’d run around on the beach with just our bathers on and would try to get a tan. My life, and that of my two brothers, would have been much better had we covered our skin up.

“I was a bit blasé about my health back in the day, like a lot of blokes. Now, if I’m out in the sun at all, I make sure to protect myself,” Clements said.

Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide

With over-exposure to UV radiation causing 95% of melanomas, Australians are reminded to use the five forms of sun protection whenever the UV level is three or above:

  1. Slip on sun-protective clothing,
  2. Slop on broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen,
  3. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat,
  4. Seek shade and,
  5. Slide on sunglasses.

National Skin Cancer Action Week runs from Sunday 20 November to Saturday 26 November. For more information, visit Cancer Council’s website.

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