Despite the healthier attitude, the survey showed an urgent need for improvement in the uptake of sun protective behaviours among Australians aged 12-17 years.
The report revealed around 23 per cent of Australian teens still get sunburnt on summer weekends, similar to numbers reported a decade ago in 2003/04.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the results were encouraging, but there was still a substantial need for teens to get smarter when spending time in the sun.
“Queenslanders aged 16-24 have the highest rates of sunburn in the state*,” Ms Clift said.
“Only 15-20 per cent of our young Queenslanders* use broad-brimmed hats, and the use of sunscreen and sunglasses is far less in younger age groups than older age groups.
“It’s absolutely imperative that our teens get smarter about sun protection – sunburn isn’t cool – it causes premature ageing of the skin and significantly increases skin cancer risk.
“It’s encouraging to see the desire for a tan decline significantly in the past decade, but behaviours still need to change to prevent skin cancer.
“All young Queenslanders need to Slip on 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 sunnies to best reduce their risk of skin cancer.”
Every day, around 370 Queenslanders are told they have skin cancer. About 133,000 non-melanoma skin cancers and 3000 melanomas are diagnosed across the state each year.
National Skin Cancer Action Week runs from November 16-22 – a timely reminder for all Queenslanders to check their skin and seek the advice of their GP if they notice any changes.
“If Queenslanders notice a new spot or lesion, or an existing spot or lesion change in shape, colour or size, they should visit their GP immediately,” Ms Clift said.
“It’s important to get to know your own skin, and get in the habit of conducting regular skin checks.”
Sun protection is required when the UV Index is 3 and above. In Queensland, the UV Index is 3 and above all year round, so Cancer Council Queensland encourages sun protection through every season.More information about Cancer Council Queensland and staying SunSmart is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171
*Cancer Council’s National Sun Protection Survey 2013-14.
*The Health of Queenslanders 2012 – the fourth report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland.