SunSmart’s new global UV app a serious game changer to combat high skin cancer rates in Australia

Wednesday 18 January, 2023

SunSmart brings new technology to combat skin cancer with the launch of the SunSmart Global UV app to address Australia’s high skin cancer rates, with approximately two in three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime.

SunSmart’s transformation of the iconic Slip, Slop, Slap slogan of the 80s into the new SunSmart Global UV app, brings together decades of experience of delivering sun protection information to the Australian public.

Supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the app provides worldwide UV levels tailored to each user’s specific location, providing clear guidance on when sun protection is required whether you are working, travelling or being active outdoors.

Current evidence indicates that personal habits in relation to sun exposure constitute the most important individual risk factor for UV radiation damage.

With Australia having one of the highest UV rates in the world and UV capable of causing skin damage to people who spend just 11 minutes outdoors unprotected, the SunSmart Global UV app is a free and innovative solution to bring daily sun protection information no matter where you are in the world.

The 2022 Summer Sun Protection Survey (Life in Australia™) showed that only 54% of Australian adults used weather forecast information to decide whether they needed sun protection, meaning many people are likely unaware of the daily UV level or sun protection times.

Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, Adjunct Associate Professor Craig Sinclair is urging all Australians to download the SunSmart Global UV app to identify the UV times of the day that puts them at risk of skin damage.

“We want people to use UV and sun protection times to help guide behaviours, and not rely on the temperature, as you can’t see or feel UV radiation, the damage is often being done before it’s noticed.” Mr Sinclair said.

“The new SunSmart Global app should be everyone’s first step towards improving their protection against UV radiation, with melanoma the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.1

“There is strong evidence that most skin cancers and UV-related eye damage are preventable. That is why the SunSmart Global UV app is so important,” Mr Sinclair said.
Developed in partnership with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), The Bureau of Meteorology (The Bureau) and Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), the app provides daily sun protection times as well as a seven-day weather and UV forecast.

ARPANSA’S Assistant Director UV Radiation Measurement, Dr Stuart Henderson said protecting Australians from the harmful effects of UV radiation is a core part of ARPANSA’s role and the SunSmart Global UV app is an important resource to inform and empower people to ensure they are protected during times of higher UV exposure.

“As the UV Index regularly reaches Very High and Extreme levels through much of the year in Australia, having access to easy-to-use and timely information and alerts will help people better protect themselves and their families from the harmful effects of sun exposure,” Dr Henderson said.

“We’re proud to have partnered with Cancer Council Victoria and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to develop the Global SunSmart UV App, which provides data for the whole of Australia as well as global data for those travelling overseas.”

The Bureau of Meteorology's Group Executive, Community Services, Piero Chessa said "it is great to be able to work with SunSmart and see Australian technical know-how developed by the Bureau of Meteorology having a positive global impact to address skin cancer. This technology has been developed to protect and inform Australians with information to safely manage their lives under the sun no matter where they are in the world."

Victorian father of two Keith Short, had a melanoma removed from his neck following years of playing sport outdoors. Following this diagnosis, he is warning other men to use everything they can to prevent skin cancer.

“Growing up I didn’t think about UV, and it was only after having a melanoma removed from my neck that I started to learn more about the harm it causes. For my generation, it is hard to comprehend that even on a cloudy day we can have high UV levels – so I think education is paramount and being able to learn about UV and how to check the level every day on this app is going to be useful for people,” Mr Short said.

“No matter how old you are, you have to protect yourself as well as your family and I count myself lucky I was diagnosed early and had my melanoma removed when I did,” Mr Short said.

The SunSmart Global UV app is free for download through the Apple and Google Play Stores and is available in eight languages including English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Chinese and Russian.

If you would like to learn more about how to protect your skin or for SunSmart sun protection advice visit www.sunsmart.com.au.

-ENDS-

More information about the SunSmart Global UV app:
The SunSmart Global App was developed in collaboration with national and international partners. It was designed alongside ARPANSA, The Bureau of Meteorology and Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2). Internationally, the app is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environmental
Program (UNEP), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The SunSmart Global UV app provides real-time and forecast UV levels for locations across Australia and translates this data into clear, evidence-based health advice from Cancer Council to help drive change ensuring recommended sun protection measures are advised when appropriate.

1. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/contents/rankings