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  • South East schools urged to be SunSmart

    04 February 2020

    Cancer Council’s SunSmart Team will be heading to the South East this February to promote the SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Program and spread the “No hat, play in the shade” message.

    Research shows that registered SunSmart Schools are more likely to have comprehensive policies and practices that better protect students from skin cancer, including the enforcement of wearing SunSmart hats during at risk times of the year (95 per cent of students compared to 83 per cent in non-member schools).

    SunSmart hats, such as broad-brimmed, bucket and legionnaire style hats, offer greater protection than baseball caps and can reduce the amount of UV reaching the eyes by 50 per cent.

    Cancer Council SA Community Education Coordinator Diem Tran said that the team will be showcasing their new ‘SunSmart Hat Wearing Toolkit’ range of resources, which provides a step by step guide for schools to achieve 100 per cent of students and staff wearing Cancer Council approved hats.

    “Sun protection is important at all life stages, but crucial in those early years and we need the help of schools, early childhood centres and OSHC services so we can protect our future generation,” she said.

    Those in regional South Australia have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than those based metropolitan Adelaide, with data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010-2014) showing that the Limestone Coast population has a higher age-standardised annual rate of melanoma (43.9 cases per 100,000 people), compared to metropolitan Adelaide (35 per 100,000).

    Ms Tran said it’s important that students aren’t just SunSmart at school but understand and accept that being SunSmart and wearing a hat should be a part of normal day to day activities, especially in regional communities due to the increased skin cancer risk.  

    “Whether at school, after school or on the weekends, sun protection should always be top of mind when UV radiation reaches skin damaging levels,” she said.  

    “Slapping on a hat combined with the four other sun protection measures—slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen, seeking shade and sliding on wraparound sunnies—is the best way to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation.”

    She went on to explain that the team are aiming to increase SunSmart membership in the Limestone coast region. Currently only 33 per cent of schools, 49 per cent of early childhood centres and 33 per cent of OSHC services are members, leaving many implementing practices which have not been endorsed by Cancer Council SA.

    All new SunSmart members from the region who join the program from 3 February to 31 July 2020 will receive a welcome pack and go in the draw to win $100 worth of sunscreen for their school or centre.  

    Cancer Council’s SunSmart Team will be visiting the region from Tuesday 18 to Wednesday 20 February with visits planned for Keith, Naracoorte, Mount Gambier and Kingston SE.

    The team will be hosting free workshops within the region on how to promote the “No hat, play in the shade” message amongst students and staff with the newly developed resources.

    To find out more about the National SunSmart Schools and Early Childhood Program and the new SunSmart Hat-Wearing Toolkit contact Rachael Biddulph, Community Education Project Officer, on (08) 8291 4265 or visit SunSmart@cancersa.org.au.

    For more information and to check if your school holds SunSmart status, visit www.cancersa.org.au/cut-my-risk/sunsmart/primary-schools-and-out-of-school-hours-care.

    - ends -

    About the SunSmart Schools Program

    A SunSmart school or early childhood centre is one that:

    • has a comprehensive sun protection policy that meets a minimum national standard covering the areas of curriculum, behaviour and the environment
    • provides, or is working towards, adequate shade facilities
    • ensures children and staff are well-protected when the UV radiation level is 3 and above, particularly during peak UV times of the day, during terms 1, 3 and 4 (beginning of August to the end of April).
    • teaches, role models and reinforces positive skin protection behaviours
    • agrees to undertake policy reviews every three years with Cancer Council SA to ensure policy and practice stay up to date with the national standard.

    Skin Cancer in South Australia

    • Melanoma is the most common cancer in young people aged 12-24.
    • 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 3 and above. In South Australia, UV reaches 3 and above during terms 1, 3 and 4.
    • 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


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