Less than three per cent of Sunshine Coast adults will take sufficient precaution against skin cancer this winter, increasing their risk of the state’s most commonly diagnosed cancer.
Figures from the latest Self reported health status survey* show only 2.6 per cent of adults on the Sunshine Coast abide by all five recommended sun protective behaviours in winter: Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
The report shows Sunshine Coast adults aged over 55 are the least SunSmart, with only 2.3 per cent adapting all five sun safety behaviours in cooler months, followed by males aged over 18 years (2.8 per cent).
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said sun damage was just as likely during a Queensland winter as the summer season.
“It may be surprising to many that the UV Index level and temperature are not at all linked,” Ms Clift said.
“It can be a very hot afternoon and the UV Index level quite low – or the opposite, a cold and overcast day, but the UV Index reaches moderate or high.
“Sun protection is required when the UV Index is 3 and above – even on cloudy, cold and overcast days.
“Here in Queensland, the UV Index is 3 and above all year round – so sun protection is required through every season.
“Don’t rely on temperature to prompt you to protect your skin – get to know the UV Index level – you may be surprised about sun protection recommendations!”
Cancer Council Queensland is also concerned about vitamin D myths that may lead some Queenslanders to seek sun exposure intentionally.
“In Queensland, we generally only need a few minutes of sun daily, even in winter, for sufficient vitamin D intake,” Ms Clift said.
“Queenslanders must ensure they use all five recommended sun-protective behaviours to best reduce their risk of skin cancer.
“Slip on protective clothing, Slop on SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunglasses.”
Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Around 3,000 melanoma and 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed across the state each year.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.