You probably know by now that making bad decisions when it comes to sun protection can be life threatening and causes premature ageing and wrinkles at best. While some people smartly skip the mid-day sun altogether, others work outdoors in tank tops every day or hit the beach with a bottle of baby oil, increasing their chances of developing skin cancer.
Our love affair with, and gloification of, the tan has got to stop. It is literally killing us. Skin cancer is on the rise globally, out of the 7 most common cancers in the US, skin cancer is the only one who’s rate of incidence is increasing. The statistics are staggering:
- Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence and mortality rates of melanoma in the world.
- 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. Around 2000 people die of skin cancer in Australia every year.
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. An estimated 9,710 people will die of melanoma in 2014.
- Nearly 3000 people die every year in the UK from melanoma which is their 5th most common cancer.
- Melanoma is the skin cancer most likely to spread to lymph nodes and internal organs.
- Skin cancers account for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia. Each year, Australians are 4 times more likely to develop a common skin cancer than any other form of cancer.
- The most commonly diagnosed cancer among adolescents and young adults is melanoma; it accounts for more than one-quarter of all cancers among Australians aged 15–39 years.
- Queensland registers the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Cancer Council Queensland says about 3,000 melanoma and 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed across the state each year.
The major factors contributing to skin cancer are connected to recreational exposure to the sun and a history of sunburn. Both factors are within our control, we can take the appropriate precautions to protect ourselves. See our section on ‘What is UPF’ for tips on what you can start doing right now.