Sporting venues rival beaches as sunburn hotspots

spectators-sport-shutterstock_1633812Cancer Council research released today shows Australians are at the same risk of being sunburnt at sporting venues as they are at the beach.

The findings, from Cancer Council’s most recent National Sun Protection Survey, shows sporting venues are clearly linked with sun damage with 22 per cent of Australians at sports grounds and centres getting sunburnt, which is just as high as the percentage of Australians at the beach, local lake or river who got sunburnt (22 per cent).

Other places where risk of sunburn was high included at public parks and gardens (12 per cent of park visitors sunburnt), backyard pools (11 per cent sunburnt) and at home or a friend’s place (10 per cent sunburnt).

National Skin Cancer Action Week (17–23 November) is a timely reminder from the Cancer Council that people across NSW must protect themselves wherever they are outdoors, as well as check their skin for changes so skin cancers are picked up early.

sunburn-shutterstock_56132251Sandra Rowan, community programs coordinator northern region, said this year alone 3,591 people in NSW would be told they had the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.

‘The figures are significant for sun damage in NSW, as it highlights that people are still getting caught out when it comes to protecting their skin and it’s not just at the beach,’ said Sandra.

‘Understandably people enjoy their summer activities, but we need a balance between our love of the outdoors and protecting ourselves from a common and potentially fatal illness, which in most cases could be prevented.

‘This week we are reminding people across NSW that the “slip, slop, slap, seek and slide” message doesn’t just apply at the beach.’

Sandra said that the earlier a skin cancer was detected, the better the outcome in terms of complete removal and survival rate.

‘Many people are under the impression that all skin cancers are easily treated, and most are, but only if picked up early. National Skin Cancer Action Week serves as a timely reminder to all people to check their skin now and keep a close eye on it all year-round.’

The research found there was an equal risk of being sunburnt at the beach/lake/river and at a sports centre or grounds (22 per cent of adults at each of these locations reported being sunburnt).

The National Sun Protection Survey was conducted via phone over summer 2010–11. A total of 5,412 adults aged 18 to 69 were interviewed. The survey is conducted every three to four years by Cancer Council.

Number of adults at location
N= 2885

of adults sunburnt
N= 330

% sunburnt
of those who were at location

At the beach/lake/river




At a sports centre/grounds




At a public park/garden




At a backyard pool




At home/friend’s or relative’s place




At a market/fair/outdoor shopping centre




On the street, footpath, walkway




National Skin Cancer Action Week is an initiative of Cancer Council Australia with the support of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.



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