Your greatest cancer risk could be at home 16



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Once upon a time, we thought nothing of lying in the sun covered in coconut oil but these days we’re much wiser.

However, the Cancer Council says most Australians are missing out on one very important precaution when it comes to protecting themselves from skin cancer.

Sure, we’re not lying in the sun, and we’re much better at wearing hats and sunscreens when we go out. But what about at home?

It turns out, in this new age of awareness, that most sun damage now occurs at home while we’re hanging up washing, mowing the lawn or pottering around in the garden.

Cancer Council research shows that although only a few adults confess to tanning themselves, 61 per cent report having tanned skin, and that incidental sun exposure is just as risky, the council says.

A new campaign has set out to remind Australians that UV damage adds up.

“It can happen when you are putting the clothes on the line or fixing the car when sun protection is not front of mind,’ says the Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, Craig Sinclair.

“You skin is like a memory bank, it remembers all the time outdoors unprotected — all the sunburns, tans and solarium visits. This is particularly important throughout summer when UV rays hit extreme levels. The damage all adds up and increases your risk of skin cancer,” he says.

The Cancer Council research shows that people still aren’t applying sunscreen and other protection as vigorously as they should, mistaking cloudy days for being low-risk, and forgetting to cover up while cooking a barbecue or doing hobbies outdoors.

In summer, in can take as little as eight to 15 minutes to get sunburnt in Australia, so remember to cover up when you step out the back door!

Do you cover up all the time or are you guilty of a few slip-ups?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Heard on the radio yesterday that vitamin D deficiency is increasing in Australia along with its associated diseases, due to the effectiveness of the slip, slop, slap message. So I guess we are damned if we do and if we don’t.

    6 REPLY
    • I recently tripped and fell -breaking a bone in my wrist. Blood test showed I was deficient in Vitamin D -have always been strict with sunscreen so what do I do now apart from taking medication for it.

    • I am Vit. D deficient and am trying to get a little sun in the early hours of the day rather than taking another tablet

    • Lack of Vitamin D is seeing an increase in some cancers. Our greatest source of vitamin D is from the sun. I’ve also read that a few minutes of midday day sun will give more Vit D than a longer time at either end of the day.

    • I also take a vitamin d capsule but latest on that is that the capsule alone is not enough. Here we go on the roundabout again.

  2. make sure you wear sunblock in the car too, I have a couple of skin cancers to be cut out on my upper arm and they were caused by sitting in the car without any protection, I make it a rule now when I wake up to put on sunblock and do so again several times a day even if I am staying at home, every time you put a foot outside the front or back door you are at risk

    1 REPLY
    • Yes my son is a truck driver and was back to the doctor again yesterday over one on his right arm that keeps reappearing. Evidently very common among those who drive for a living. I always take a long sleeved shirt and even brought gloves after a long day driving with the sun on my hands. I use sunscreen for shorter trips and only resort to covering up if I can’t escape the sun over a long period.

  3. I believe, all in moderation. I dont go in the sun. I am def ‘the great australian whit policy’in that respect… lol ….besides the damage to our skin from the sun was done in our youth. Bit like closing the gates now the horse has bolted

  4. So who didn’t know this? It doesn’t matter where you are with skin exposed to the sun. Just common sense. People do wierd research to justify their wages.

  5. Too late for most of we older ones. Damage done in our youth means that whatever we do we will still have problems with skin cancer. I know, I have had major problems for over forty years. Do what you can, but ensure that your children and grandchildren take all the preventative measures so their chances of having skin cancer is diminished.

  6. I am paranoid about sun protection. I have umbrellas, hats, sunscreen, long sleeved shirts. When we are trekking and camping I wear special trekking clothes with long sleeves and pants that unzip at the knee. At night I have shorts and long pants during the day. I have facial suncreen and normal sunscreen. As a result of all this my skin is very pale. I have had people ask me if I am feeling ok because my skin is so pale.

  7. I do not put sunscreen on to hang the washing, I need my vitamin d. Any more than that short time I put it on.

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