26 September 2023

Cancer campaign a call of action

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The Cancer Institute NSW is urging people to take action to reduce their skin cancer risk with the launch of a campaign targeting outdoor workers.

Chief Cancer Officer for NSW and Chief Executive of Cancer Institute NSW, Tracey O’Brien said the new Change Your Routine video campaign warns of the dangers of skin cancer, with supportive resources for workers and employers that model how, when and where to protect their skin at work.

“It’s a misconception that UV radiation is only harmful during summer, with high UV index levels present in NSW from August to May,” Professor O’Brien said.

“Ninety-five per cent of melanoma and 99 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun and for those working in agriculture, construction, roads and our backyards, the risk of developing skin cancer is even greater,” she said.

“Fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented if we follow the advice that has been drummed into us for decades – when outdoors, slip on protective clothing, slop on SPF 50+ sunscreen, slap on a wide brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses.

“It can truly save lives.”

Professor O’Brien said Australia had one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, with two out of three Australians treated for skin cancer during their lifetime.

She said not all skin cancers could simply be cut out, with men over 40 years of age 2.5 times more likely to die from melanoma than women of the same age.

“There are simple measures employers can take to protect their staff, like setting up shade areas using gazebos or awnings, attaching sun protection to helmets, providing employees with sunscreen and breathable full length work wear and ensuring workers follow other sun safety measures,” the Chief Cancer Officer said.

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