Today marks the start of Cancer Council SA's annual summer campaign to remind us all of the dangers of tanning and being caught out unprotected in the sun.
Known as the Dark Side of Tanning, the campaign will appear on TV, outdoor advertising and social media; aiming to increase awareness of the dangers of melanoma and challenge the belief that a tan is healthy.
To support this year’s campaign, an exciting new SunSmart addition has been made right in the heart of local summer hotspot, Moseley Square, Glenelg.
South Australians and visitors alike will have access to Cancer Council’s very own ‘SunSmart tram stop’ that will have FREE sunscreen on tap and provide a stark reminder of the darker side of tanning.
“You cannot miss it, just look out for the big yellow umbrella!
“By stopping by and ‘slopping’ on some sunscreen you will be supporting the campaign and helping us to promote SunSmart behaviours; which also include wearing protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses, ” says Professor Brenda Wilson, Chief Executive Cancer Council SA.
“Challenging beliefs and changing attitudes about sun tanning is crucial if we are to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in our state.
“Our latest survey results tell us that one-third of South Australians are still getting burnt at least once every summer, some up to four or more times!
This is scary when you consider that 617 South Australians are already being diagnosed with melanoma every year.”
26 year old Donna Schwartz knows only too well about the consequences of buying into the notion that she needed a tan to look good for summer.
“I was regularly out in the sun growing up and remember tanning during summer because I thought it looked good and because all my friends were doing it.
When I was diagnosed with an invasive malignant melanoma on my leg at age 22, my attitude towards tanning changed quickly!
“The scar on my leg after having the melanoma cut out and needing 42 stiches is a constant reminder of how dangerous the sun is and my need to always be vigilant.
“One positive from my skin cancer experience is that my friends are now a lot more SunSmart as a result. Being a young person that has had melanoma has enabled me to get the SunSmart message out to other young people.
“When I tell my story I think it really hits home that skin cancer is real and it can happen to anyone, particularly those that put themselves at risk by seeking a tan.”
This change in attitudes was reflected in the results of a recent national survey which found a 15% drop in the number of teens preferring a tan over their natural skin colour, indicating that the dangers of tanning were beginning to cut through.
NEW LOCAL STATS – 2010
SA sun protective behaviours survey (15yrs +):
• One third of South Australians reported getting sunburnt during the 2009/10 summer
• There are more South Australians wearing sunscreen than ever before, 60% usually or always wear sunscreen compared to only 55% in 2004.
• 50% of South Australians usually or always wear a hat when in the sun.
• Only one third of South Australians usually or always wear protective clothing
• Only 17% usually or always practice wearing a hat, sunscreen and protective clothing when in the sun.
• 49% of South Australians had not had their skin checked (either by a GP, themselves or someone else) in the previous 12 months Source: Cancer Council SA, 2011
For more information head to the Cancer Council SA website www.cancersa.org.au