27 Dec Australians Benefit from Skin Cancer Prevention Program
Preventing skin cancer starts with education and information. That’s why your local Spectrum Dermatology clinic is committed to knowledge-sharing about this dangerous but fully preventable cancer. On the other side of the world, a skin cancer prevention program dubbed SunSmart may have helped reduce melanoma for younger Melbourne residents. According to researchers, this realization might be an excellent tool for helping to shape and deliver skin cancer prevention programs around the world.
Helping Prevent Skin Cancer
Complete study details can be found in the October 8 issue of PLOS Medicine. Unsurprisingly, melanoma rates are relatively high in Australia thanks to sun year-round (kind of like we experience in Arizona). However, following the roll-out of the SunSmart program, younger Australians have enjoyed fewer melanoma diagnoses. Sun protection can take many forms, and researchers admit it’s difficult to gauge how big a role SunSmart played in the recent reduction.
Scientists undertook a population-based survey the summer before SunSmart began (1987-88) and compared it to summer diagnoses in later years, stopping in 2017. Researches asked participants ranging in age from 14 – 69 to take part in weekly telephone conversations every summer where they were asked about their attitude on tanning, protecting themselves from UV rays, and sunburns. In total, 13,285 people took part in the surveys. Researchers discovered that participants “rapidly” increased their use of sunscreen after SunSmart was started.
Participants reported that they took part in at least one form of sun protection on the weekend at a rate three times higher in the 1990s compared to 1987-88. This trend continued through the 2000s and increased again starting in 2010. Of course, the surveys rely on self-reported information and there is no control population. There is also no evidence or proof that it was SunSmart in particular that led to this change, but clearly Melbourne residents became more aware of the dangerous affects of the sun and how to protect themselves.
Protect Yourself – Schedule Your Annual Screening
Wearing sunscreen and reapplying it liberally every 90 minutes, avoiding the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and wearing sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and loose clothing that covers the limbs are the best ways to prevent skin cancer. However, don’t forget about annual skin checks where skin cancer can get caught and treated as early as possible. To schedule your skin check before the end of the year (and maximize health insurance benefits), call Spectrum Dermatology at 480-948-8400.