Cancer Council Victoria's SunSmart program recognised with national award

Friday 20 April, 2018

Cancer Council Victoria was honoured with a national award recognising its work in skin cancer prevention through the SunSmart program. 

Melanoma Patients Australia awarded Excellence as a Not for Profit Organisation to Cancer Council Victoria as part of its 2017 National Melanoma Awards, which recognise individuals and organisations who reduce the impact of melanoma. 

Judges said Cancer Council Victoria’s SunSmart program had seen Australians rethink and change their sun protection behaviours, citing its famous ‘Slip! Slop! Slap!’ campaigns, apps and resources. 

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said it was an honour to receive the award. 

“It’s a tremendous honour to have our work recognised by this panel of researchers, health professionals and melanoma survivors,” Mr Harper said. 

“We are proud of the powerful effect SunSmart has had since it began in the 1980s. We see this impact reflected everyday by the number of school children in broad-brim hats, by the increased shade in our public parks and gardens, and most importantly, the reductions we’re seeing now in melanoma rates. 

“These successes have been made possible with the support of VicHealth, which has cofunded SunSmart for 30 years, and state governments, who have supported the program through funding for mass media campaigns. This long-term support has been key to our success, and we look forward to continuing SunSmart’s work now and into the future.” 

Melanoma Patients Australia CEO Victoria Beedle said judges were most impressed with the significant impact the program had on reducing melanoma rates for young people. 

“The SunSmart program is vital in a country such as Australia, with the second highest incidence of melanoma in the world, and it is certainly encouraging that the latest epidemiology data is now showing the beginnings of a downward trend for people under 40 developing melanoma,” Ms Beedle said. 

“The SunSmart program is a prime example of how a preventative health strategy can have a major impact on the health of a society as a whole and we commend Cancer Council Victoria on affecting such a positive shift.”

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