Despite the wealth of knowledge on skin cancer prevention, Brisbane kids are still greatly at risk – and it’s getting worse

In Queensland, over 136,000 new skin cancers are diagnosed each year, giving the state one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.

The latest report by JAMA Dermatology reveals that the use of sunscreen needs to be improved, with many children applying substantially less than required for adequate sun protection.

Katie Clift, spokesperson for Cancer Council Queensland says that for the most common sun protection, they are concerned at the lack of awareness for its correct use.

“There is a linear relationship between the thickness of application and the SPF, which may result in substantially lower SPF than stated on the bottle,” says Clift.

“You might think you’re doing the right thing by stocking up on SunSmart products, but you may be letting yourself down when it comes to proper application.

“We know that regular use of sunscreen during childhood reduces lifetime risk of skin cancer – so we need to do this right.”

Clift recommends one teaspoon of sunscreen per limb, front and back of the torso, and at least half a teaspoon on the face and neck.

“A uniform coverage of sunscreen at a greater thickness will give you the best protection,” adds Clift.

The Cancer Council believes that relying on sunscreen as a stand-alone primary prevention method is no longer enough for children.

Queensland kids need sun-protective clothing, SPF30 and water-resistant sunscreen, a broad-brimmed hat and shade, to best reduce their skin cancer risk.

“There are no shortcuts when it comes to adequate sun protection.”

“Take care in preparation for outdoor activity, reapply every two hours, and remember that one method of protection is never enough!”

For more information on Cancer Council Queensland’s recommendations for kids, visit www.cancerqld.org.au