29 August 2019
With the Royal Adelaide Show kicking off tomorrow, Cancer Council SA is urging South Australians to be SunSmart and protect their skin when they head to the show.
Spring marks the welcome start of warmer weather, longer days and an increase in outdoor activities. However, with this comes rising UV levels putting people at increased risk of skin cancer.
Despite fluctuating temperatures, UV levels are predicted to reach the skin damaging level of 3 and above from as early as mid-morning through to mid-afternoon, on a daily basis.
In 2016, there were nearly 800 cases of melanoma diagnosed in South Australia, making it the fifth most common cancer in South Australia.
Cancer Council SA Community Education Coordinator Diem Tran says it’s important for the community to be vigilant about UV protection as overexposure to UV accounts for up to 95 per cent of melanoma cases.
“While the temperature has been cool in recent days, we encourage people to get in the habit of keeping a close eye on the daily UV levels,” she said.
“Every time our skin is exposed to UV radiation, particularly when it reaches 3 and above, the damage adds up, increasing the risk of skin cancer.
With thousands of young families anticipated to hit the Showgrounds over the next ten days, it is likely they will be spending plenty of time outdoors during the peak UV times.
“Families should consider dressing to cover the arms and legs, packing a broad brimmed hat and sunnies, and a pump of sunscreen. And of course, look for shaded areas to rest or have lunch during the day to help prevent sunburn and skin damage,” Ms Tran said.
Recent data from the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) shows that just 60 minutes outdoors over lunch time in early spring can result in up to six times the amount of UV radiation exposure considered safe for one day.
“It’s the sun’s UV radiation that causes the damage to our skin, and UV radiation levels are not determined by the heat or sunshine,” said Dr Rick Tinker, Director of Assessment and Advice at ARPANSA.
“People need to be aware that even if it is cloudy or cool, sun protection may still be required.”
You can find the daily sun protection times, UV forecasts and real-time UV information for your location by using the free SunSmart App or visiting www.arpansa.gov.au
Notes to Editor
- On Friday 30 August, the first day of the Show, sun protection is recommended from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm with UV index predicted to reach 4 [moderate].
- One in four South Australians incorrectly rely on temperature to determine when to protect their skin.
- Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia each year and melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed.
- Sun exposure is responsible for 99 per cent of all non-melanoma and 95 per cent of melanoma skin cancers.
- Cancer Council recommends sun protection whenever the UV is three and above. In South Australia, UV reaches 3 and above from the start of August to end of April.
- Cancer Council research shows that although almost 90 per cent of Australian adults don’t attempt a suntan over summer, over 60 per cent still report having suntanned skin over summer, indicating a need for improved sun protection practices.
- To minimise skin damage, you should protect your skin in five ways when UV is 3 and 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