The aims of the SunSmart program are to minimise the human cost of skin cancer in the ACT. We have also taken a leadership role promoting a balance between the benefits and harms of ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure and the links with vitamin D.
SunSmart implements a combination of interventions aimed to affect individual sun protective behaviours balanced with advocacy for broader environmental and legislative change. For example the vast majority of Canberra early childhood services and primary schools are members of our SunSmart Programs. ACT primary schools and early childhood services with "SunSmart Status" implement a comprehensive UV Protection Policy that focuses on behaviour, education and the environment and have access to local support, professional learning and resources.
SunSmart also works with secondary schools, workplaces, health professionals, local government and sporting clubs to promote a healthy UV balance. This intensive multi faceted community-level program is underpinned by population-wide media campaigns that communicate key messages and reinforce positive social norms around tanning and sun protection.
Why Sun (UV) Protection?
Sun protection is recommended at all ages, as skin cancer risk is reduced at whichever age sun protection is used. 1
High sun exposure in the first 10 years of life more than doubles melanoma risk, 2 while intense, intermittent sun exposure (for example, in the form of sunbathing vacations) during each decade up to 29 years of age, increases risk of melanoma by over one-and-a-half times. 3 Every additional decade of high sun exposure or solarium use increases the risk of melanoma. The risk of melanoma is reduced by reducing recreational sun exposure at any age. 2,3
1. Armstrong BK. How sun exposure causes skin cancer: An epidemiological perspective In: Hill D, Elwood JM, English D. Prevention of Skin Cancer. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 2004. p. 89-116.
2. Kricker A, Armstrong BK, Goumas C, Litchfield M, Begg CB, Hummer AJ, et al. Ambient UV, personal sun exposure and risk of multiple primary melanomas. Cancer Causes Control 2007 Apr;18(3):295-304 [Abstract available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17206532.
3. Veierød MB, Adami HO, Lund E, Armstrong BK, Weiderpass E. Sun and solarium exposure and melanoma risk: effects of age, pigmentary characteristics, and nevi. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2010 Jan;19(1):111-20 [Abstract available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20056629.