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Sun protection behaviours in adults

Why this indicator is important

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.1

Skin cancers can be:

  • melanomas
  • squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs)
  • basal cell carcinomas (BCCs).

SCCs and BCCs are often grouped together as non-melanoma skin cancers.

Skin cancer is a highly preventable cancer. At least 95% of melanoma skin cancers, and 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds.2

The NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy brings together government, non-government and community organisations to work together to:

  • increase the use of sun protection policies and guidelines
  • improve access to adequate shade
  • increase the use of sun protection behaviours.

Progress is being made in each of these areas.

About this indicator

This indicator relates to adults (18 years and over) in NSW who reported adoption of sun-safe behaviours.

  • Adoption of sun protection behaviours among NSW adults remains low.
  • In 2016, sun protective behaviours varied among the adult population in NSW. Approximately one-third of survey respondents wore hats and approximately two-thirds of survey respondents wore sunglasses when out in the sun for more than 15 minutes.

Note: These data were the latest available at the time they were extracted (June 2019). For the most recent population health data, visit HealthStats NSW.

Proportion of adults who always or often used sun protection when out in the sun for more than 15 mins, NSW, 2014 and 2016

Proportion of adults who always or often used sun protection when out in the sun for more than 15 mins, NSW, 2014 and 2016

N = Number of survey respondents.

Notes:

  1. Data source: NSW Population Health Survey 2016 (sourced from HealthStats NSW, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health). Available at www.healthstats.nsw.gov.au.

References:

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Estimated number of new cases in 2018, melanoma of skin, both sexes, all ages [Internet]. Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer Today 2018 [20 June 2019]. Available at: https://gco. iarc.fr/today/home (accessed 14 February 2020).
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Skin Cancer in Australia. Cat. No. CAN 96. Canberra: AIHW, 2016.