Summer Daze

Submitted by Susanne Jones, Just Better Care Brisbane North and CBD

With the warmer months comes the temptation to spend time in the sun.  But with fun in the sun, comes the increased risk of sun damage and skin cancer.

Rates of skin cancer in Australia are high. According to SunSmart, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. We have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world.

A spot on your skin may seem unsuspecting, but skin cancer is serious.  Each year, about 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer.  But the good news is that almost all types of skin cancer are preventable, and it’s never too late to use sun protection to reduce your risk.

As we get older, our risk of skin cancer increases, with most skin cancers diagnosed in people over the age of 45.  The important message is for everyone – regardless of age – to understand their skin cancer risk.

The early detection of skin cancer is especially important for older Australians – getting to know your skin and being aware of what to look out for is vital.  Look for that mark or spot on your skin that just looks unusual, different, or not quite right.  If you notice any of these signs, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Most skin cancer is easily treatable at the early stages. But left untreated, it can be fatal.

In the summer months, our skin can burn in as quickly as 11 minutes.  It’s damage that’s permanent, it can’t be undone.  But there is good news; sun protection at any age will stop more damage from adding up.

When it comes to sun protection, it’s the UV you need to be mindful of, not the temperature outside.  UV, or ultraviolet radiation, is a type of energy produced by the sun.  You can’t see or feel UV and won’t notice the damage until it’s too late.

Consider these tips to help you be safe in the sun this summer: 

1. To find sun protection times visit the Bureau of Meteorology

2. Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible

3. Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen and re-apply every two hours

4. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat

5. Seek shade where you can

6. Slide on sunglasses

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