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Skin Cancer Action Week

National Skin Cancer Action Week

November 17-23 2013

Cancer Council Australia and the Australasian College of Dermatologists are joined by Australian test cricket captain and SunSmart ambassador, Michael Clarke, for this year’s National Skin Cancer Action Week.

Coinciding with the start of the Ashes test series at the Gabba in Brisbane, this year’s theme is ‘Don’t get caught out - Be SunSmart this summer’. The week is a reminder to all Australians that protecting themselves when the UV levels are 3 or above and keeping a close eye on their skin is the best way to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

New findings from the latest Cancer Council National Sun Protection Survey shows that Australians are at the same risk of being sunburnt at sporting venues as they are at the beach. The research shows a clear link between sporting venues and sun damage, with 22% of Australians at sports grounds and centres getting sunburnt – as high as the percentage of Australians at the beach, local lake or river who got sunburnt (22%).

Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Skin Cancer Committee, Louise Baldwin, said over the next three years, 44,000 Australians (40 a day) would be told they had the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. Almost two in three would be men.

“The figures are startling when you put them in perspective,” Louise said. “Forty four thousand people is more than a full capacity crowd at the Gabba.”

“Cancer Council is reminding Australians that the ‘slip, slop, slap, seek and slide’ message doesn’t just apply at the beach."

Dermatologist and Honorary Secretary, Australasian College of Dermatologists, Dr Patricia Lowe, says in a new blog that the earlier a skin cancer was detected, the better the outcome in terms of complete removal and survival rate.

“Many Australians are under the impression that all skin cancers are easily treated, and most are, but only if picked up early,” Dr Lowe said. “Too often I see patients who had noticed something unusual on their skin yet didn’t seek advice soon enough. National Skin Cancer Action Week serves as a timely reminder to all Australians to check their skin now and keep a close eye on it all year-round.”

Australian test cricket captain and Cancer Council SunSmart Ambassador, Michael Clarke, said two of the things Australia was most famous for were cricket and skin cancer.

“I’ve had experience with both,” he said. “I’m only 32 and unfortunately I’ve already had three skin cancers on my face. I’m lucky they were picked up early. We all know the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide message, but too many of us forget to keep an eye on our skin.

“Remember, get to know your skin and if something changes, act fast and get it checked by your GP.”

Cricket Commentator, Jim Maxwell, is also supporting the campaign, following his own experience with skin cancer.

“Sun exposure has ravaged my face and kept dermatologists busy,” he said. “Be smart, wear a hat and slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.”

Maxwell and Clarke have come together in a new video in support of the campaign, urging men to take charge of their own skin health.

National Skin Cancer Action Week is a timely reminder for Australians to keep an eye on their skin and act fast if something changes. With statistics showing that men are more likely to die of skin cancer, men aged 45 and over are particularly urged to become more aware of their own skin and visit their GP if they notice any changes.

Skin cancer infographic

This page was last updated on: Monday, November 18, 2013