Story by Julia Younger
Edited for online by Conor Tobin
The importance of sun safety is still not getting through to Queenslanders, particularly men aged 18-24 despite more than 50 years of campaigning, according to new research.
A joint study from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Queensland Health reveals one in eight men and one in 12 women are suffering sunburn lasting more than 12 hours on the weekend, with 18-24 year olds being seven times more likely to get burnt.
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Melanoma Research Laboratory group leader Dr Mark Shackleton says the warm weather creates a perfect breeding ground for the tumors.
“In Australia we have a perfect storm of a high proportion of people with relatively fair skin and very high levels of ultra-violet light from our sunny climate
“The links are obvious – the message is clear, it has been broadly been effective, just not effective enough,” he said.
Dr Shackleton says the findings indicate the need for further education on the dangers of sunburn and how easily skin cancer can develop as a result.
“The data indicates we need to maintain and even increase messaging regarding the importance of not getting sunburt and of the relationship between sunburn and developing skin cancer,” he said.
Cancer Council Queensland media spokesperson Katie Clift says only so much can be done to warn people of the dangers.
“We do a lot to enforce that message about Queenslanders having the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, but it is down to their individual action, making sure they remember to re-apply sunscreen, take those sun protective behaviors and do what they can for their own personal risk of skin cancer,” she said.
The Cancer Council hopes the findings give Queenslanders the push they need.
“We want to encourage Queenslanders to heed this warning and heed these statistics and do what they can to take more sun protective behaviors,” she said.
The Cancer Council have a number of tips to ensure you are sun safe on its website.