The majority of Queensland beach and pool goers are ignoring the warnings about the deadly threat of skin cancer and are getting sunburnt despite knowing the risks, according to new research.
Suncorp – who partners with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) to fund the Suncorp Skin Cancer Lab – undertook the Skin Cancer Awareness Survey which found that a massive 82 per cent of respondents got burnt at least once over summer and a quarter got burnt more than twice.
Despite 82% of respondents being fully aware that they still get burnt in the shade, 62 per cent said they only used sunscreen occasionally and only when it was hot and sunny. And the re-application of sunscreen message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly with males, with 28% of male respondents indicating they rarely reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
Less than half (41%) of respondents said that they wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect themselves against sunburn. Half of the respondents only wear a hat when it’s hot and sunny.
QIMR’s Communications Coordinator Felipe Beltran said it was of major concern that many Queenslanders were ignoring the dangers of skin cancer particularly given the risk of melanoma increases with every sunburn and it only takes six minutes to burn.
“Queensland has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world,” Mr Beltran said. “We should not be complacent about sun protection ever, even in the shade.”
“Another misconception about skin cancer is that people think only burning can lead to skin cancer. Unfortunately there are different types of skin cancer, some which develop even without burning. In Queensland we are exposed to UV rays constantly and a tanned skin means more damage from these rays than a white skin,” he said.
Suncorp spokesperson Gabrielle Emmett said 1,642 of its staff from across the country responded online to the survey. “It is Suncorp’s intention to provide long term skin cancer support to Queenslanders through our association with QIMR,” she said.
“Attitude surveys such as this one help us to refine our skin cancer messages and influence the programs we support in the community. We want to help protect people from the deadly effects of skin cancer.”
Suncorp staff will be out on the beaches over Christmas and New Year throughout Queensland, providing free sunscreen to beach goers in an attempt to educate the community about the dangers of sun exposure. An integrated advertising campaign (including TV, radio, outdoor and cinema advertising) is also on air over the holiday season, reminding people about skin cancer prevention and the need for regular skin checks.