Sun Slack men putting lives at risk from skin cancer

Date: 9 February 2012

Middle aged men in NSW are three times more likely to die from melanoma than women of the same age as figures launched today reveal that men are failing on the simplest of sun smart prevention measures*.

New Cancer Council figures reveal that 75 per cent of men in NSW are failing to wear broad brimmed hats, 70 per cent aren’t using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15+, and almost half aren’t wearing sunglasses when going into the dangerous sun**.

Dr Andrew Penman, CEO at Cancer Council NSW, said that men’s lifelong sun slack behaviour was resulting in a major spike in melanoma deaths when they reached 50 years old, but that it’s never too late to reduce your skin cancer risk.

“Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world and despite decades of sun protection advice, men are putting their lives in danger by not hearing or acting upon the messages that too much sun can be deadly.

“Melanoma is largely preventable and although some men may think that the damage has already been done by their mid 50s, it’s important for them to know that it’s never too late to reduce your risk of skin cancer.

“It only takes a couple of minutes to put on a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen but this could make a huge difference when it comes to skin cancer. This also sets a good example to your family – especially grandchildren who often look up to their grandparents as role models.

“My message is really simple. Protect your skin, even on cloudy days and visit your doctor immediately if you notice any changes to your skin, no matter how small. A couple of minute’s effort could just save your life.”

Visit www.cancercouncil.com.au for more information or contact Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

-ENDS-

Media Contact: Gina Murphy Media Officer 02-93341428/ 0413 889 283

Notes to Editor

*Tracey E et al. Cancer in NSW: Incidence and Mortality Report 2008. Sydney, NSW: Cancer Institute NSW; 2010.

**Cancer Council NSW research figures come from unpublished data prepared by Cancer Council Victoria for CCNSW. (Volkov A, Dobbinson S, 2010-11 National Sun Protection Survey: Report 2. Australians’ sun protective behaviours and sunburn incidence on summer weekends, 2010-11 and comparison with 2003-04 and 2006-07. An unpublished report prepared for National Skin Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Australia. Final Report October 2011.)