The majority of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. Sun protection is required when the UV is 3 and above.
In Tasmania, this is from the beginning of September through to the end of April. So it is vital to be using sun protection now - regardless of the temperature.
To avoid skin damage, follow these five steps:
- Slip: on clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop: on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or greater) sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outdoors and re-apply at least every 2 hours. Apply at least a teaspoon of sunscreen to each limb, and to the front and back of your body, and half a teaspoon to your face, neck and ears.
- Slap: on a hat that protects your face, neck and ears such as a broad brimmed, bucket or legionnaire style hat. Caps and visors do not provide adequate protection.
- Seek: shade from the sun wherever possible, especially between 10am and 3pm when the UV is at its peak.
- Slide: on sunglasses that are close-fitting, wrap-around, polarised, which meet Australian standards (AS/NZS1067).
To find out the UV index and sun protection times in your area, download the FREE SunSmart app or look in the newspaper daily from September.
If a skin cancer is found early, the majority can be successfully treated.
Everyone should become familiar with their skin. It is important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so changes will be quickly noticed.
It is crucial to check all of your skin, not just sun-exposed areas. Look out for any changes to the shape
of a spot or mole, or the development of a new spot or mole
If you notice any changes to your skin, see your doctor.
When making changes to your lifestyle, it can take some time for new habits to stick. Make sun protection a part of your daily routine and it will become easier to remember over time.
If you or someone you know have been impacted by cancer, we have support services available to you. Please call 1300 65 65 85 to find out how we can help.
- Contributed by Cancer Council Tasmania
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with a least two in three people being diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.