Shock stats: only one in three under-45s are SunSmart

A recent survey shows only one out of three West Australians aged between 18 and 45 regularly use sun protective clothing to guard against skin cancer.

The 2105/2016 WA survey of attitudes towards sun protection also showed just a third of WA teenagers 14 to17 wear a hat or sun protective clothing.

While national survey results showed people are using more sunscreen, it's the most expensive and least reliable of the sun protection options and on its own is never enough.

With only one in five adults using three or more sun protection measures while they are outside, National Skin Cancer Action Week (November 20 - 26) is an opportunity to remind people that melanoma remains the most common cancer in young West Australians.

"Skin cancer looms above all the others in terms of numbers of people affected and cost to the community," our SunSmart Manager Mark Strickland said.

"It is the easiest cancer to avoid yet it kills more people each year than the national road toll.

"Being SunSmart is easy and could save your life, but don't just rely on one part of the equation - it's not just about using a hat with a brim, or wearing sunscreen, or covering up when the UV is 3 or higher, or even using shade and sunglasses. It's about doing all of those things - make the change and join the fight against skin cancer," he said.

Mr Strickland said while changing our sun protection behaviour could be hard, dealing with melanoma was much harder.

He said learning about the UV index is a valuable step in understanding why a change to better sun protection was smart.

"We've now got the www.myUV.com.au website which has become something of a one stop shop! You can learn about the UV index and get forecasts for more than 700 places in Australia. You can plan your time outside with the daily UV graphs, all the while remembering to Slip Slop Slap Seek slide when UV is 3 or more," he said.

"You can also download the free SunSmart App to your phone and see current UV readings, get advice on how to best protect yourself out in the sun, and there's a skin check guide if you're worried about a spot on your skin."

Covering up doesn't have to look daggy!

The SunSmart team collaborated with Curtin University's School of Design and Art, asking students to create a design that incorporates sun protection with a fashionable twist.

"It really isn't hard to be SunSmart and fashionable at the same time! These talented up and coming WA designers at Curtin University are showing that SunSmart fashion can be cool in every sense of the word," Mark explains. 

The best design (left) was submitted by 20-year-old Gracen Woodcock from East Victoria Park, and will be on sale in Perth this summer.

 "It is so important to be SunSmart in our WA climate. Fabric choice is very important, and the bamboo spandex knit used for this design offers exceptional airflow and comfort as well as a UPF rating of 50+," says Gracen.

"The simplicity of the design will also hopefully entice all ages to dress SunSmart," she said.

Dr Anne Farren, Head of Fashion Design in the School of Design and Art at Curtin University, agreed.

"All the students involved in the SunSmart design project have become so much more aware of the role that design can play in improving general community health," she said.

"We hope that this knowledge and experience is carried through to their ongoing design practice."

 

 

 


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