According to the latest survey Victorian teenagers, despite skin cancer warnings, are still keen on getting a sun tan. The online survey by SunSmart showed that young Victorians are significantly more sun-safe than they were when the Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign first started 30 years ago.
Results showed 57 per cent of 13 to 17-year-olds still express a desire for a tan, with more than 40 per cent saying it makes them feel more attractive. The no-tan look was favored by 43 per cent of 13- to 17-year-olds, compared with only 18 per cent in 1987-88.
SunSmart manager Sue Heward revealed that some of the youngsters between the ages of 13 to 34 believe skin cancer is easy to treat. She said, “There’s still 20 per cent of people who thought that you just go in and get a melanoma cut out as opposed to it could take years to recover from melanoma…And we know that melanomas can go away and come back…We really do need to shift that perception that somehow skin cancer is an easy thing to deal with.”
She explained, “Childhood and adolescence are critical periods during which sun exposure is more likely to contribute to skin cancer in later life… Australian adolescents have by far the highest incidence of malignant melanoma in the world, compared with adolescents in other countries – a statistic we shouldn’t be proud of.”
In Victoria, nearly 20 per cent of all cancers in 15 to 24-year-olds are melanomas. Ms Heward added, “In Victoria alone 343 people will die from skin cancer (melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer) each year – this is more than the states annual road toll…What is tragic is that skin cancer is one of Australia’s most preventable cancers.”
Health Minister Daniel Andrews spoke of some “mystery shoppers” who would visit solariums at least once a year to check businesses are complying with new laws banning anyone under the age of 18 to visit a solarium.