As Queenslanders venture outdoors to enjoy the freedom of a hopefully COVID free summer, we must be aware of and ready to defend ourselves against the hazards of prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate safeguards.
The first days of summer also mean our risks increase as our hot climate, historical approach to sun protection, and an outdoor lifestyle, contribute to make Australia the global ‘skin cancer capital.’
Yet for many Queenslanders, non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is a relatively unknown health issue. A new report by SANOFI titled “The Burden of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) in Australia “predicts that approximately 587,000 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in 2020.
97 per cent of those diagnosed will be for a non-melanoma skin cancer and many of these will be Queenslanders. The modelling in this report predicts that in 2020, 1,700 adults in Australia will die from advanced melanoma.
And some of us are more at risk than others.
DSO General Manager Jo Crotty says that “at DSO we have known for a long time that occupational exposure to sunlight is a significant risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancer. People who routinely work outdoors are at higher risk than those who are indoor workers.”
“A person’s job affects their risk of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, mainly in relation to whether the work leads to continual sun exposure.
Occupations in Building and Construction that involve outdoor work are associated with increased skin cancer risk.”
The clock is ticking, and we need to ensure these industries are stepping up and taking responsibility this summer for providing safe workplaces.
They need to ensure they are making available sunscreen stations, appropriate PPE and ensuring regular breaks are taken to address hazards such as heat stress.
This new report confirms what we already know at DSO – that awareness impacts on behaviour toward sun safety. We also want to issue a heartfelt plea to all Queenslanders this summer to takes personal responsibility for their sun safety, whether that be those workers in outdoor industries or whilst pursuing their sporting and recreational pursuits.
These facts are all too real for the founder and General Manager of DSO Jo Crotty who lost her husband Rohan, after a fight against the deadly melanoma skin cancer. It followed a career in the building and construction industry where he experienced prolonged UV exposure.