Canberra sports clubs rally to raise awareness of skin cancer prevention


National Skin Cancer Action Week runs from 20 to 26 November and is focused on raising awareness of skin cancer prevention behaviours. Local sportspeople are stepping forward as Skin Cancer Community Champions to remind Canberrans to be SunSmart and get your skin checked.

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with approximately two in three diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime. In addition, it is estimated that almost twice as many men as women will die from melanoma this year alone (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022).

New research commissioned by Cancer Council and released this week shows that less than half (49%) of Australian men regularly seek shade to protect themselves from the sun during summer, and less than a third (29%) regularly use sunscreen.

Cancer Council ACT CEO Verity Hawkins states, “The Cancer Council research indicates men are less likely to practice UV protective behaviours, also showing that almost half (47%) of men spend time outdoors during peak UV hours throughout summer.”

“Sport plays a significant role in our summer culture. It’s great to see our community members step up to play a role in creating skin cancer awareness, with a focus on preventative measures we can all take each day.”

One of our Skin Cancer Community Champions, Lawrie Kirk, is a life-long cricketer. He speaks of his own experiences, saying, “Now in my 60's I have played a lot of cricket. In recent years I have made sure I always get a full skin check at the end of cricket season.”

“This year I had a small bump behind my ear that itched, would bleed when scratched and would not go away. A trip to my GP and we found out it needed to be removed. After a 7 x 1.4 cm excision I am pleased to say it was all removed.”

“It’s important to remember that the skin behind your ear is uncovered when you are batting and wearing a helmet. Maybe I need to bat more quickly to reduce my time out in the middle!”

Dr Marisa Paterson MLA, on behalf of the Department of Health, ACT Government, stated, “The ACT Government is pleased to support the Cancer Council in providing education and support on UV protection through their SunSmart program.”

“Our beautiful region has so many wonderful outdoor spaces to spend time in which is why it is so important for Canberrans to follow sun-safety messages. Not only during this week of national awareness, but as we move into summer.”

Australians are being reminded to use the five forms of sun protection whenever the UV level is three or above: Slip on sun-protective clothing, Slop on broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen, Slap on a broad brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on sunglasses.

To follow more on the National Skin Cancer Action Week activities and meet the rest of our Skin Cancer Community Champions, follow Cancer Council ACT on social media:

Facebook: @cancercouncilact          

Instagram: @cancercouncil_act

 ABC Radio Canberra Logo

Thanks to ABC Radio Canberra  - Media Partner for National Skin Cancer Action Week.


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