Recent technology developed by the Queensland University of Technology could lead the way in reducing skin cancer incidences. The university is on the cusp of trialling the latest in portable UV sensors to test whether or not an increase in awareness will help to curb people’s sun baking ways.
The technology comes in the form of a Cancer Council smart phone app or a wearable UV meter developed in Western Australia. The sensors provide accurate UV measurements and warnings about dangerous UV levels and intend to encourage their users to carry out sensible sun behaviour. Dr Elke Hacker of the Queensland University of Technology hopes that the technology “that will allow people then to modify their behaviour and prevent themselves from being sunburnt”.
New research released by Cancer Council has shown that the downward trend in adult sunburn since 2003/04 has hit a hurdle with approximately 430,000 more sunburn cases found compared to four years ago.
The research showed that on a summer weekend around 2.4 million Aussies are getting sunburnt – 15% of Australians were found to get sunburnt over a summer weekend, 18% of men and 12% of women.
Although the total percent of sunburn cases has significantly lowered over the past ten years, the recent increase is seen as a cause for concern indicating complacency when it comes to skin cancer prevention.
The Cancer Council has called for a new national mass market skin cancer prevention campaign to remind Australians that skin caner is largely preventable and encourage them to take steps to lower their risk.
Source: Cancer Council – New research shows almost 2.4 million Aussie adults sunburnt on summer weekends
Incorrectly applying sunscreen can result in the actual sun protection effect being an SPF much lower then that listed on the sun screen.
When determining a product’s Sun Protection Factor (SPF) in sunscreen testing laboratories, scientists use around double the amount of sunscreen in an application compared to that applied by the average consumer.
Sue Heward SunSmart manager at Cancer Council Victoria recommends the average person using about 35 millilitres (around 7 teaspoons) of sunscreen for each application.
Sunscreen application tips:
Use the right amount
Apply 20 minutes before you go outside
Reapply every two hours
Source – Correct sunscreen application reduces skin cancer
With temperatures up above 40 degrees this Summer, the surf brings welcome relief. Make sure you’re taking care of your skin though as a recent Cancer Council study has shown that up to 2/3 of us aren’t applying enough sunscreen.
Most people need to DOUBLE the amount of cream they are using to achieve the SPF that is shown on the bottle.
According to Terry Slevin from the WA Cancer Council the best advice is to apply a generous layer and the add “another good squirt”.
Check the UV rating on our homepage and remember that (according to the World Health Organisation) even a UV index of 3 is enough to damage skin cell DNA and cause cancer.
Sunglasses make excellent Christmas presents but It’s important when choosing sunglasses as a gift to find a pair with suitable sun protection as 300 Australians are diagnosed every year with eye cancer and conjunctival cancer.
The Australian Government has five lens categories on a scale of 0 (very limited protection) to 4 (very high protection) which identifies how well sunglasses perform.
It is recommended that sunglasses with a rating of 2 or higher are purchased to offer sufficient UV protection to the eye.
Read further details
Not just eye candy: which sunglasses protect your eyes?
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Our ageing fair skinned population grew up in a time where little was known about the dangers of sun burn, and as a consequence cancers such as Basal Cell carcinoma and Squamous cell Carcinoma are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia each year. Read more
Research currently being undertaken by Dr Elke Hacker and her team at Queensland University of Technology looks into the impact of sunscreen at a molecular level. Read more
Safe, inexpensive and widely available – the use of Vitamin B3 in treating skin cancer.
How to check today’s UV forecast and protect your skin from damaging radiation.