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Media Release

Opposition’s skin cancer prevention campaign would save lives and money

April 13, 2019

Getting slip, slap, slop, seek, slide back on the agenda

The federal Opposition’s plan for an $8.6 million national sun protection awareness campaign would significantly reduce the social and economic costs of skin cancer, according to Cancer Council Australia.

Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, Anita Dessaix, said Australia was the world’s skin cancer capital, yet it was one of our most preventable cancers.

At least two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70.

Over 2200 people die from the disease each year. Australia’s annual skin cancer medical bill is well over $700 million and rising.

“Evidence shows prevention is by far the most effective investment in reducing skin cancer incidence, mortality and costs,” Ms Dessaix said.

“The federal Opposition’s $8.6 million plan to conduct a national sun protection awareness campaign over two years has great potential to reduce the burden of skin cancer in Australia.

“Previous media campaigns to raise sun protection awareness have been highly cost-effective, with returns of around $3.85 for every $1 invested.

“This is based on campaigns run before the costs of new drugs to treat melanoma escalated dramatically. So the investment is likely to provide even stronger returns today.

“The human and economic costs of skin cancer are increasing sharply as our population ages and as new, expensive treatments and technologies become available.

Ms Dessaix said exposure to SunSmart TV advertising was strongly associated with improved attitudes and behaviours to sun protection across time periods and age groups.

She said an investment of $8.6 million over two years would pay for a broad sun protection awareness campaign across national TV, radio and digital platforms.

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