New research prompts awareness campaign for final weeks of summer
Cancer Council research shows Victorians prefer tanning much less than a
decade ago but that sunburn rates are still too high.
Results from the Cancer Council’s latest National Sun Protection Survey (2013-14)i
show improvements over the past 10 years in Victorians’ attitudes to
tanning, showing only 32% of people like to get a suntan and 44% of
people believe a suntanned person looks healthier. The figures show a
significant shift in attitudes, with Victorians 33% less likely to
desire a tan than they were last decade.
Cancer Council Victoria’s
head of prevention, Craig Sinclair, said the tanning data is reassuring
and shows the work promoting skin cancer prevention is paying off.
can now well and truly put to bed the notion that the ‘bronzed Aussie’
is something the typical Victorian aspires to, as the data clearly
doesn’t support that,” Mr Sinclair said.
“The fact that attitudes
to tanning are changing for the better shows we’ve come a long way over
the past 10 years,” Mr Sinclair said. “Unfortunately, however, almost
600,000 Victorians are still getting sunburnt on the typical summer
weekend.ii For this reason it’s vital we continue to have
high profile media campaigns to remind Victorians of the importance of
sun protection to reduce the risk of skin cancer and eye disease.”
Victoria in 2013, 2,307 people were diagnosed with melanoma and 374
people died of the disease. A further 86 people died of other skin
cancersiii, with more than 40,000 treatments for these skin cancers each year.
Minister, The Hon. Jill Hennessey at the launch of a new state-wide
campaign announced today, said: “Melanoma can occur in any person at any
age and is one of the most prevalent, yet largely preventable cancers
affecting Victorians. We have hit the peak of summer and this campaign
is an important reminder to Victorians to ensure they are adequately
protected each and every day.”
The campaign features a television
advertisement that tells the true story of Wes Bonny, a 26-year-young
man who died of melanoma in March 2010. Wes wasn't trying to get a tan
and did his best to protect himself from the sun but despite his
efforts, he was diagnosed with melanoma when he was just 23 years old.
The melanoma was removed, but it was already in his bloodstream and
later spread to his brain.
Mr Sinclair said Wes’s story is a reminder of the need to be vigilant about sun protection.
“Like Wes, people may know they need to protect themselves from the sun, but may not be doing this properly,” Mr Sinclair said.
check the times of day when sun protection is needed in the weather
section of your daily newspaper or by downloading the free SunSmart app.
During the daily sun protection times, make sure you slip on a
long-sleeved shirt, slap on a broad-brimmed hat, slop on SPF30 or higher
broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen, slide on sunglasses and seek
SunSmart ambassador Catherine Andrews said: “It's so
important for Victorians to be SunSmart. We all love spending time
outdoors, playing sport and enjoying our beautiful beaches, but we need
to be careful in the sun and make sure we regularly check any suspicious
About the campaign
Developed by the
Cancer Institute NSW, the SunSmart program first implemented the Wes
Bonny story in Victoria for two consecutive summers (2011–2013). The
campaign will run again in Victoria this summer, along with the Dark
Side of Tanning advertisements, which highlight the dangers of tanning.
The campaign includes television, print, radio and online
advertisements, thanks to funding from the Victorian State Government.
The television advertisements will be broadcast statewide from Sunday,
25 January through February.
i The Cancer Council’s National
Sun Protection Survey is completed every 3-4 years. In 2013-14, 1,269
Victorians aged 18-69 were interviewed about a range of issues including
attitudes to tanning and sun protection behaviours.
of the number of Victorians sunburnt is based on 15% of survey
participants who reported they were sunburnt on the previous weekend and
the ABS estimated population (18-69 years) figures for 2014.
iii Thursfield V, et.al. Cancer in Victoria: Statistics & Trends 2013. Cancer Council Victoria: Melbourne, Australia 2014