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About the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy

Young people practicing good shade behaviours

The NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy (the Strategy) builds on the achievements of the 2012–15 strategy and outlines a coordinated response to the primary prevention of skin cancer at a statewide level.  

This is why ongoing investment in programs that prioritise the primary prevention of skin cancer is needed; encouraging sun protective behaviours across a range of populations and priority settings.

A collaborative approach

The development of the goals and objectives of the Strategy was guided by:

  • learnings and achievements of the 2012–15 Strategy
  • the national and NSW policy context, including goals and objectives of the NSW Cancer Plan
  • stakeholder and public consultation.

Development of the Strategy involved extensive stakeholder engagement and consultation with member organisations of the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Advisory Committee and cross-sectional working groups. Key stakeholders from government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups were also involved. 

Strategic context

The NSW State Health Plan: Towards 2021 is the NSW Government’s blueprint for action to implement its agenda. The Plan promotes the development of the NSW Cancer Plan and the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy as mechanisms for improving outcomes for patients and the community.

The NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy defines a comprehensive approach to reducing overexposure to sun and ultimately the incidence of skin cancer in NSW.

Goals and objectives

In line with the approach of the NSW Cancer Plan, the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy outlines three goals and related objectives to facilitate the strategies and actions needed to make progress towards these goals.

  1. To increase implementation of comprehensive effective sun protection policies and guidelines
  2. To improve access to adequate shade
  3. To increase the adoption of sun protection behaviours

Priority populations

While sun protection is important for all Australians, some groups are at higher risk of developing skin cancer. The following groups remain priority populations under the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy:

  • Children under 12 years of age: Both acute and chronic overexposure to the sun during childhood and adolescence contributes significantly to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma.
  • Adolescents and young adults (13–24 years of age): Adolescents adopt sun protection behaviours at lower rates than both children and adults; most commonly, sun protection behaviour begins to decline in pre-adolescent years, reaches a low-point at around 16–17 years, and then improves as adolescents move into adulthood.
  • Adult males 40 years of age and older3: Incidence of melanoma increases dramatically for males from around 45 years of age. There was also a significant 11 per cent increase in male mortality rates for the period 1999–2008.

View Appendix 1 for more information about priority populations.

Priority settings

Where and how people live, learn, work and play influences their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours toward exposure to, and protection from, ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

The following settings remain a priority of the NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy:

  • Community: Built environments, social structures, advocacy
  • Education: Schools, early childhood centres, TAFEs, colleges, universities
  • Workplaces: Industries, outdoor workplaces
  • Recreation: Parks, sporting grounds, beaches, public swimming pools, tourism destinations
  • Health care services: General practice, pharmacies, allied health service providers, community health, health promotion services.

View Appendix 2 for more information about priority settings.