Don't let sunburn be your summer holiday souvenir

Don't let sunburn be your summer holiday souvenir

11 November 2016

Bad sunburn in childhood increases your risk of developing potentially deadly melanoma, prompting warnings for Aussies to ensure sunburn isn’t their summer holiday souvenir.

Melanoma Institute Australia CEO Carole Renouf has issued the reminder as the festive season draws closer and families prepare to embark on their annual summer holidays.

‘The summer holidays in Australia are renowned for families enjoying long playful days in the sun, surf and sand,’ Ms Renouf said. ‘Whilst summer holidays are the perfect time to reconnect with family and friends and recharge after a busy year, they are also the prime time for severe sunburn.

‘In addition to being painful, sunburn can have a far more harmful impact. Intense, intermittent exposure leading to sunburn at a young age significantly increases your risk of developing melanoma in the future,’ she said.

One Australian dies from melanoma every six hours. Melanoma is the most common cancer affecting 15-39 year-old Australians and the leading cause of cancer death in 20-39 year-olds. The incidence of melanoma in the over 60s is also high, a legacy of sun-damage from decades ago.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is damaging to skin cells as it causes mutations in DNA and it also impairs the immune system’s ability to repair. Intense, intermittent sun exposure leading to sunburn – particularly in the years prior to puberty – is the most dangerous. Melanoma can develop decades after such exposure. 

The real tragedy of melanoma is that it is largely preventable. Sunscreen acts as a barrier, reducing the amount of UV radiation that reaches cells. However, the active ingredients in sunscreen break down quickly, meaning a single application in the morning will not last the whole day. It needs to be reapplied at least every two hours and it needs to be SPF50+.

‘People relaxing on holidays tend to get sun-safe before they head out in the morning, but then get caught up in the day’s activities and forget the basics like covering up and staying out of the sun during hottest part of the day,’ Ms Renouf said.

‘I urge holiday-makers to not become complacent and actively take steps to help protect against the serious risks posed by just one bad case of sunburn, particularly to children and adolescents.

‘And when you arrive home is a perfect time to check your skin for any changes. You need to get to know the skin you’re in and ask family and friends to check places you can’t easily see.

‘There are far better souvenirs to bring back from a summer holiday than a bad sunburn, which has the potential for serious ramifications,’ she said.

 

Summer holiday check list

  • Apply and re-apply SPF 50+ sunscreen
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and cover up
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day
  • Get to ‘know the skin you’re in’, and ask family members or friends to check for skin changes in places you can’t see, as melanoma is most common in men on the back and in women on the calves.
  • Opt for a keyring or fridge magnet as your summer holiday souvenir, don’t bring sunburn home with you

 

 

Founding father recognised for outstanding cancer care
15 Nov 2017

Founding father recognised for outstanding cancer care

Professor William McCarthy AM has been awarded the Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Care.

Melanoma researchers shine at the State's premier cancer awards ceremony
03 Nov 2017

Melanoma researchers shine at the State's premier cancer awards ceremony

Leading researchers from MIA have been acknowledged with three prestigious awards for excellence in melanoma research.

Enhancing melanoma treatment response through gut bacteria
03 Nov 2017

Enhancing melanoma treatment response through gut bacteria

New research shows that patients who are more likely to respond to immunotherapy treatment have a greater diversity in their gut bacteria.

Melanoma March is just around the corner!
01 Nov 2017

Melanoma March is just around the corner!

2018 will be bigger than ever, and a little bit different.

Comparing melanoma risk in similar populations across different latitudes
20 Oct 2017

Comparing melanoma risk in similar populations across different latitudes

MIA's epidemiologist explains her new research on how country of residence should be considered when identifying melanoma risk.

Congratulations to our Conjoint Medical Directors
19 Oct 2017

Congratulations to our Conjoint Medical Directors

Congratulations to our Conjoint Medical Directors, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, who have today been announced as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

What causes melanoma in 90% of young Australians?
19 Oct 2017

What causes melanoma in 90% of young Australians?

New research shows potentially deadly UV damage can appear decades earlier than you think.

Early lymph node check is saving lives in melanoma patients
19 Oct 2017

Early lymph node check is saving lives in melanoma patients

Early lymph node check is saving lives in melanoma patients

Congratulations to Associate Professor Anne Cust
13 Oct 2017

Congratulations to Associate Professor Anne Cust

We are pleased to announce that A/Prof Anne Cust is the new President of the Australasian Epidemiological Association.

Smoking linked to increased risk of melanoma spreading
12 Oct 2017

Smoking linked to increased risk of melanoma spreading

New research has shown that melanoma patients who smoke have an increased risk of their disease progressing compared to patients who do not smoke.

Research boost to improve outcomes for melanoma patients
11 Oct 2017

Research boost to improve outcomes for melanoma patients

More than $3.5 million in competitive funding grants have been awarded to MIA's researchers.

Highlights in melanoma research from ESMO
21 Sep 2017

Highlights in melanoma research from ESMO

The ESMO conference provided a platform for announcing a number of key melanoma research findings - including practice-changing research from MIA.

Australian researchers stopping melanoma in its tracks
11 Sep 2017

Australian researchers stopping melanoma in its tracks

Australian researchers have successfully trialled a combination of new treatments to prevent melanoma from spreading to distant organs.

Virus-antibody combo shows promise for treating advanced melanoma
08 Sep 2017

Virus-antibody combo shows promise for treating advanced melanoma

A new treatment that combines an antibody with a cancer-killing virus improves outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma, an international clinical trial has shown.

It's time to outlaw sunburn on reality TV shows - enough is enough
31 Jul 2017

It's time to outlaw sunburn on reality TV shows - enough is enough

It feels like groundhog day - another reality TV show, another batch of blatantly sunburnt contestants.

Identifying markers for optimal response
28 Jul 2017

Identifying markers for optimal response

Wouldn’t it be great if your doctor could know if you would respond to treatment before you even had it?

Global Melanoma Research Report - July
20 Jul 2017

Global Melanoma Research Report - July

In our latest research update we showcase research in survival estimates, uncover biomarkers, and reveal practice-changing research in surgery and medical oncology.

A day in the life of... Sarah Lane
14 Jul 2017

A day in the life of... Sarah Lane

Senior Clinical Trial Coordinators, like Sarah Lane, support melanoma patients throughout the clinical trial process. 

Differentiating moles from melanoma
14 Jul 2017

Differentiating moles from melanoma

Melanomas are often hard to differentiate from moles. But new technology is helping to improve accuracy of diagnosis.

Introducing SunSense Sunscreen
11 Jul 2017

Introducing SunSense Sunscreen

We are excited to announce that SunSense will proudly be an official supporter of Melanoma Institute Australia. SunSense is an Australian, family owned business.