Simple shade promotes physical activity and wards off skin cancer

Research shows something as simple as increasing shade structures in Queensland schools would not only reduce skin cancer risk, but also promote increased physical activity.

A Cancer Council report* on shade recommendations for early childhood identified shade as a vital means of sun protection that could reduce sun exposure by up to 75 per cent, but also encourage young people to take part in more exercise.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said childhood and adolescence were critical periods for UV radiation exposure and skin cancer risk – so an important time to intercept complacent behavior.

“Not only do we know that increasing shade structures across Queensland schools would reduce children’s risk of skin cancer, but we now also know that implementing shade structures in early childhood settings promotes increased physical activity,” Ms Clift said.

“Without access to proper shade during school hours, kids are at risk of developing skin cancer – so it’s important all Queensland organisations caring for children have access to items that assist SunSmart behavior and reduce skin cancer risk.

“We also need to work hard to instill SunSmart behaviours in Queensland children to reduce their long-term risk of skin cancer.”

This month, Cancer Council Queensland is partnering with the Department of Health to call on not-for-profit organisations to take action against skin cancer by applying for the 2014 SunSmart Grants Scheme.

The SunSmart Grants Scheme offers funds for portable and permanent shade items for not-for-profit organisations and schools that cater for children up to age 17.

“These grants will be a big boost to eligible organisations who have limited funds for sun safety,” Ms Clift said.

Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and increased sun exposure in childhood contributes significantly to the risk of developing cancer later in life.

In Queensland, around 136,000 new skin cancer cases are diagnosed each year (3000 melanoma and 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers).

In Brisbane, around 1176 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year and around 109 people will die from the disease.

Early childhood centres, outside school hours care, youth community groups (eg. scouts, girl guides) and primary and secondary schools across Queensland are encouraged to apply.

Applications close at 5pm on February 13, 2015.

To apply for a grant, please complete the online application form at

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders adopt all five recommended SunSmart behaviours to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunglasses as best protection against skin cancer.

Remember – one form of sun protection is never enough!

Cancer Council Queensland is an independent, community-based charity. The achievements of Cancer Council Queensland are made possible by the generosity of Queenslanders.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and being SunSmart is available at or by calling the Cancer Council 13 11 20.

For interview opportunities, please contact:

Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland

P. (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171

For more information, please contact:

Kim Ryan, Senior Media Advisor, Cancer Council Queensland

P. (07) 3634 5239