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 2020, an estimated 4,924 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. 

In this section

Understand skin cancer

Learn more about your skin and how the sun effects it to help reduce your risk of skin cancer. 

Reduce your skin cancer risk

There are simple ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Learn how to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet radiation.

Protect your skin campaign

Find out how you can prevent your skin from melanoma—the most common cancer among young Australians.

Shade and UV protection

Quality shade can reduce UV exposure by up to 75%. Learn more about shade as a planning and design priority for skin cancer prevention in NSW. 

Sun protection for outdoor workers

Find out what you can do to protect yourself and your workers from UV radiation and skin cancer.

Sun and UV at School

Sun and UV at School is a suite of new evidence-based teaching resources bringing skin cancer prevention to life for school students across NSW.

NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy

Our vision is to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in NSW. Learn more about the Cancer Institute NSW's skin cancer prevention strategy.


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.