NEW RESEARCH: Sporting venues rival beaches as sunburn hotspots

Monday 18 November, 2013

Cancer Council research released today (18/11) shows Australians are at the same risk of being sunburnt at sporting venues as they are at the beach 1 .

The findings, from Cancer Council’s most recent National Sun Protection Survey, shows sporting venues are clearly linked with sun damage with 22% of Australians at sports grounds and centres getting sunburnt, which is just as high as the percentage of Australians at the beach, local lake or river who got sunburnt (22%). Other places where risk of sunburn was high included at public parks and gardens (12% of park visitors sunburnt), backyard pools (11% sunburnt) and at home or a friend’s place (10% sunburnt).

SunSmart Manager, Jen Makin, said: "This week is National Skin Cancer Action Week [17 – 23 Nov], so we’re reminding Victorians to protect themselves wherever they are outdoors, as well as monitor their skin for changes so skin cancers are picked up early."

Over the next three years, it is expected 44,000 Australians (40 a day) 2 will be told they have the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. Almost two in three will be men. In Victoria last year, over 1,250 men were diagnosed with melanoma and 210 men died from the disease.

"It’s so important to remember that the Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide message doesn’t just apply at the beach. It doesn’t matter where you are - on the cricket pitch, in your backyard or at the playground with the kids - remember to check your daily sun protection times and use sun protection this summer."

Dr Rod Sinclair, Dermatologist and Director of Dermatology at Epworth Healthcare, said that the earlier a skin cancer was detected, the better the outcome in terms of complete removal and survival rate.

"Many Australians are under the impression that all skin cancers are easily treated, and most are, but only if picked up early. Too often I see patients who had noticed something unusual on their skin yet didn’t seek advice soon enough. National Skin Cancer Action Week serves as a timely reminder to all Australians to check their skin now and keep a close eye on it year-round."

Victorian test batsman Rob Quiney knows how important it is to be SunSmart on the cricket pitch.

"It’s so important to be sun safe when you’re outdoors and to be aware of your own skin so if something changes, you can act fast and get it checked by your GP."

National Skin Cancer Action Week is an initiative of Cancer Council Australia with the support of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

For more information, visit sunsmart.com.au.

More skin cancer statistics for Victoria

  • 1,278 men and 983 women were diagnosed with melanoma in 2012
  • 210 men and 103 women died from the disease.

About the research

The National Sun Protection Survey was conducted via phone over summer 2010-11. A total of 5412 adults aged 18 to 69 were interviewed. The survey is conducted every three to four years by Cancer Council.

  Number of adults at location
N= 2885
Number of adults sunburnt
N= 330
% sunburnt of those who were at location
At the beach/lake/river 321 70 22
At a sports centre/grounds 125 28 22
At a public park/garden 242 28 12
At a backyard pool 88 10 11
At home/friends’ or relatives’ place 1480 150 10
At a market/fair/outdoor shopping centre 200 20 10
On the street, footpath, walkway 429 24 6
  1. The research found there was an equal risk of being sunburnt at the beach/lake/river and at a sports centre or grounds (22% of adults at each of these locations reported being sunburnt).
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Cancer incidence projections, Australia 2011 to 2020. AIHW, 2012.
Updated: 18 Nov, 2013