SunSmart and Life Saving Victoria are calling on Mornington Peninsula residents and holiday-makers to be vigilant about sun protection this long weekend, as data indicates 333 residents have been diagnosed with melanoma in the region from 2010–12.
The Victorian Cancer Registry reports there are on average 111 new diagnoses of melanoma in the Mornington Peninsula Shire each year.1 Melanoma and other skin cancers caused the deaths of 460 Victorians in 2013 – almost twice as many as the annual road toll.
“This is a wake-up call to Mornington Peninsula residents and holiday-makers. The Labour Day weekend marks the end of summer, not sun protection. Whether you’re spending a few minutes in the sun or a few hours, you can’t afford to forget about sun protection each and every day from September right up until the end of April,” SunSmart Manager Sue Heward said.
“You can’t see or feel the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, so you can be caught off guard − especially on days when it is overcast or cooler than usual. While not every day this summer has been a scorcher, the UV has remained at extreme levels and at this time of year can burn your skin in just 11 minutes.”
Life Saving Victoria General Manager of Lifesaving Club Development Andrew Foran said sun protection was an essential part of water safety. The organisation worked with SunSmart to develop new sun safety guidelines for members in the lead up to the busy 2014−15 summer season in an effort to cut members skin cancer risk.
“People need to remember that one of the biggest killers on our beaches is the sun. We have seen several cases on our beaches this summer where people are unprepared for the heat or UV, lying in the sun for hours, failing to drink enough water and not seeking shade, even after the signs of heat exhaustion begin to present. It is vital that people take extra care and look after themselves, family and friends,” said Mr Foran.
“Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and be Sunsmart by wearing sun-protective clothing, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and seek shade wherever possible.”
For more information on sun protection visit sunsmart.com.au
1. Data obtained from Cancer Council Victoria’s Victorian Cancer Registry