Whilst it’s true that Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, skin cancer including melanoma is still a serious health concern in many other parts of the world.
Here at Sandy Feet Australia, we are passionate about making it easier for parents all around the world to protect their children from the damaging effects of UV radiation, not just here in Australia. With many parts of the northern hemisphere gearing up for summer (even if it’s just the promise of a holiday in the sun!), I think it’s important to remind ourselves about the importance of sun protection no matter where we live. I have been talking to my friends in both the UK and the USA about sun protection and the message is always the same: ‘I know this is important in Australia, but it’s not the same for us, we don’t really need to worry about rash guards for our children’. This prompted me to take a closer look at the issue of skin cancer in both these countries, and what I discovered may surprise you.
According to Cancer Research UK :
- There were around 15,400 new cases of melanoma skin cancer in the UK in 2014, that’s 42 cases diagnosed every day.
- Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK (2014).
- 1 in 54 people will be diagnosed with malignant melanoma during their lifetime.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation in the US:
- One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 54 minutes).1
- An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017
- An estimated 9,730 people will die of the disease in 2017.1
There are some facts about skin cancer that remain true across the world. Firstly, the vast majority of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, in fact studies have shown that getting a sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma.4 Secondly your best form of defence is to protect yourself while in the sun by wearing UPF50+ sunscreen, wearing sun protective clothing (including sunglasses) and seeking shade when the UV levels are at their highest.
Whilst covering up in the sun can seem like a hassle at times, and the allure of the perfect tan is tempting, as a cancer survivor myself, who has had to face the reality of a potentially life threatening diagnosis, undertaken both radiotherapy and chemotherapy – I would opt for prevention over cure any day!
- Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@editorial/documents/document/acspc-048738.pdf. Accessed January 10, 2017.
- Dennis LK, VanBeek MJ, Freeman LEB, Smith BJ, Dawson D V., Coughlin JA. Sunburns and risk of cutaneous melanoma, does age matter: a comprehensive meta-analysis. Ann Epidemiol. 2008;18(8):614-627. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2008.04.006.Sunburns.