It might be the middle of winter, but Mildura locals may already need to dig out their hats and sunscreen if they’re heading outdoors.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast the UV Index will reach 3 on several days this week across northern Victoria, which means that the use of sun protection is recommended.
SunSmart Manager Heather Walker said despite the current cool weather, when it comes to sun protection, temperature is a misleading guide.
“It’s the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation that is the main cause of skin cancer,” Ms Walker said.
“We can’t see or feel UV radiation, but because it is strongest in summer, we usually link heat to any skin damage that appears after a day outdoors. This is reminder to Mildura locals and especially those who spend extended periods outdoors that we need to check UV each day and not just the temperature.”
“Because UV levels change across the day, it’s easiest to check the sun protection times on the free SunSmart app or at the Bureau of Meteorology website to make sure you’re protected when you need to be.”
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, with two in three Australians diagnosed with some form of the disease by the age of 70. In the Mildura Rural City Council area, 64 locals were diagnosed with melanoma between 2013 and 2015 and 18 lost their lives to the disease.
Despite the toll, Ms Walker said most skin cancer could be prevented with the use of good sun protection.
“When it comes to UV damage, it all adds up over your lifetime to increase your risk of skin cancer. Don’t wait for the hot weather or Extreme UV levels – for best protection during the daily sun protection times each day use five SunSmart steps:
- Slip on covering clothing
- Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- Seek shade where you can
- Slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes.”