Skin cancer is by far the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand
Did You Know?
- Most skin cancers are preventable.
- 90% of skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UVR).
- The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Of the three, melanoma is the most serious.
- New Zealand has one of the highest melanoma death rates in the world. Melanoma is the most common cancer in 20 to 40 year olds.
- If you have excessive exposure to UVR before the age of 20, this increases the risk of developing melanoma later in life.
What Can You Do?
- Be SunSmart "Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap".
- Avoid sunburn.
- Never let your children get sunburnt.
- In New Zealand, you should protect yourself from the sun between the start of September and the end of March, especially between 11am and 4pm
- Keep in the shade whenever possible and wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses. Don't consider sunscreen to be your main way of avoiding sunburn.
- There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ tan – any change in the colour of the skin is a sign that damage has taken place.
- All types of sunburn, whether serious or mild, can cause permanent and irreversible skin damage and lay the groundwork for skin cancer in later life.
- During the summer months, you may be able to get adequate vitamin D levels through sun exposure received during typical outdoor activities outside of peak UVR times.
- Avoid using sunbeds as the amount of UVR may be five times that of the midday sun.
- Regularly check any moles that you have and look for changes in the size, shape or colour of the mole. If you have a lot of moles you have an increased melanoma risk, and it is worth having an annual check with your GP.