About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Since its inception in 1979, it is recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Read our full list of skin cancer prevention tips.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
- For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
- Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
How Concerned Should We Be With The Rate Of Skin Cancer Incidence in Australia?
Here are some of the Statistics:
- Australia has the highest skin cancer incidence rate in the world.
- Australians are four times more likely to develop a skin cancer than any other form of cancer.
- Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
- While melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, it is the most life threatening form of skin cancer. In 2009 there were 11,545 new cases of melanoma.
- In 2010, total deaths from melanoma were 1,452.
- Melanoma is also one of the most common cancers affecting youth in Australia.
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSC)
- NMSC are the most common cancers diagnosed in Australia, with approximately 430,000 new cases estimated to have been diagnosed in 2008.
- Of these 430,000 NMSC cases, an estimated 296,000 were Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) cases, and an estimated 138,000 were Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cases. It should be noted however, that NMSC is not reportable by law to cancer registries, like other cancers including melanoma, therefore the true incidence of BCC and SCC is not known.
- In 2010 there were 445 reported deaths from NMSC.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australasian Association of Cancer Registries (2004). Cancer in Australia 2001. AIHW cat. no. CAN 23. Canberra, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Australasian Association of Cancer Registries (AACR) (2008). Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2008. AIHW cat. no. CAN 32. Canberra, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
- Staples M., et. al. (2006). Non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia: the 2002 national survey and trends since 1985. Medical Journal of Australia 2006; 184: 6-10.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australasian Association of Cancer Registries (2008). Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2008. AIHW cat. no. CAN 32.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Cancer Australia. Non-melanoma skin cancer: general practice consultations, hospitalisation and mortality. Cat no. CAN 39. September 2008.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012). Cancer in Australia: an overview 2012. AIHW cat no. 70.