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 over exposure 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.
  • Excessive exposure to UVR before the age of 20 increases the risk of developing melanoma later in life.

What Can You Do?

  • Be SunSmart "Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap".
  • Avoid sunburn.
  • Don’t let your children get sunburnt.
  • In the New Zealand context, sun protection is advisable during the peak UVR period, which is between the start of September and end of March, especially between 11am and 4pm
  • Sunscreen should be the last line of defence – also wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses; keep in the shade whenever possible and avoid the peak UVR period between 11am and 4pm.
  • 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, adequate vitamin D levels can potentially be achieved through sun exposure received during typical outdoor activities outside of peak UVR times.
  • Avoid the use of indoor solaria as the amount of UVR may be five times that of the midday sun

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