Young and Hilltops residents are being urged to take care while out in the sun with every two in three people in the country diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the age of 70.
Cancer Council NSW are encouraging locals to protect themselves from the sun in five easy steps:
- Slip on clothing that covers shoulders, arms and legs.
- Slop on a SPF30+ or higher broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen to create a barrier between UV rays and skin.
- Slap on a hat to protect face, ears and neck.
- Seek shade whenever possible as being out of the direct sun can reduce UV exposure by up to 75 percent.
- Slide on sunglasses that meet Australian Standard AS1067 and fit the face to reduce UV exposure to eyes.
According to Cancer Council NSW Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.
"It's even known as our national cancer," a Cancer Council spokesperson said.
"Over 440,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer and unfortunately more than 2000 Australians die each year from skin cancer."
However, despite the high number of Australians diagnosed, skin cancers are easily preventable.
"Nearly all skin cancers are directly related to your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation; this means, that when you protect your skin from the sun's UV radiation you reduce your risk," the spokesperson said.
"The good news is it's also never too late to start! Every day you protect your skin, you reduce your risk."
According to Cancer Council NSW data sun protection is needed whenever the UV factor is three or above regardless of the time of day or time of year and UV radiation is responsible for 95 percent of all skin cancers.
"In NSW, the UV is high enough to damage your skin for over 10 months of the year, so make sun protection part of your daily routine," the spokesperson said.
UV radiation isn't something you can see or feel, and there are actually three types of UVs, they are:
- UVA: transmits freely through the earth's atmosphere.
- UVB: about 15 percent of UVB transmits through to the earth's atmosphere. The rest is absorbed by ozone.
- UVC: is absorbed by ozone and does not reach the earth's surface.
"UVA and UVB both contribute to skin cancer, sunburn, skin ageing and eye damage," the spokesperson said.
"Exposure to UV radiation is the main factor that causes skin cells to become cancer cells."
When the UV is three or above, it is strong enough to damage skin and in NSW, this is most days of the year.
According to Cancer Council NSW the UV Index measures the amount of UV radiation reaching the earth's surface. It begins at zero and has no upper limit, the rating usually finishes at 11+, which is extreme.