Preventing skin cancer

Two out of three Australians will be treated for skin cancer during their lifetime. Learn more about skin cancer—what it is, how to stay safe, and how we are working to prevent it.

Preventing skin cancer

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and it is the most common cancer affecting young Australians. 

In 2018, an estimated 5,025 NSW residents were diagnosed with melanoma. That figure is projected to increase to 5,655 in 2023, resulting in an estimated 497 deaths across the state each year.[1] 

Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun causes more than 95% of skin cancers.

The good news? Skin cancers can be easily prevented by always protecting your skin when in the sun in five simple ways:


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on protective clothing


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on SPF50+ sunscreen


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on a wide-brim hat

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on sunglasses


How we are working to prevent skin cancer

Cancer Institute NSW is working to prevent and limit the burden of skin cancer in NSW.

Guided by the NSW Cancer Plan and the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy, our Skin Cancer Prevention Program focuses on four priority areas to help make an impact:

  1. UVR protection policy to protect people where they spend time: at work, at sport and at school.
  2. Increase shade provision.
  3. Increase ultraviolet radiation (UVR) protection behaviours.
  4. Generating and using new evidence to inform skin cancer prevention planning, policies, projects and services.
Research shows that skin cancer prevention campaigns are effective. Over eight years, we have contributed to saving more than 100 lives, reducing skin cancer cases by 13,174 in NSW, and saving the state over $60 million.[2]

We hope that by working together, we can significantly reduce the impact of skin cancer for people in NSW. 


1. Cancer Institute NSW, Cancer statistics NSW:

2. Doran, et al. (2016). Benefit Cost Analysis of Three Skin Cancer Public Education Mass-Media Campaigns Implemented in New South Wales, Australia. PLoS ONE. 11(1):  e0147665. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147665.