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

 

 

Uniting our global researchers for melanoma
28 Oct 2016

Uniting our global researchers for melanoma

The Australasian Melanoma Conference is bringing together some of the world's leading researchers and clinicians.

Best practice guidelines for melanoma care go digital
28 Oct 2016

Best practice guidelines for melanoma care go digital

Best practice guidelines for melanoma care have gone digital with the first-ever online guidelines developed to adapt to the rapid change in clinical management.

Awards and honours for our talented researchers
26 Oct 2016

Awards and honours for our talented researchers

Congratulations are in order for two of our talented researchers.

5 Minutes With Prof Richard Scolyer
21 Oct 2016

5 Minutes With Prof Richard Scolyer

Professor Richard Scolyer will be sharing his expertise on melanoma pathology at the upcoming Australasian Melanoma Conference. Here he discusses what he'll be presenting on. 

Research spotlight: High Risk Clinic
10 Oct 2016

Research spotlight: High Risk Clinic

Researchers at MIA have established a High Risk Clinic to monitor people at very high risk of developing melanoma.

Learning from the best in the world
05 Oct 2016

Learning from the best in the world

A generous donation has enabled a medical oncologist from Portugal to learn from the best in the world at MIA.

Uniting the world for a cure
30 Sep 2016

Uniting the world for a cure

MIA is hosting a conference to bring together greats minds in melanoma research that will make a difference to the lives of melanoma patients

A Day in the Life of... Michelle Peranec
30 Sep 2016

A Day in the Life of... Michelle Peranec

Meet Michelle, our Translational Research Officer whose role is to connect the clinics to the lab by ensuring patient blood and tissue samples are documented and carefully stored in our BioSpecimen Bank.

Wildfire Award helps ignite new melanoma research
08 Sep 2016

Wildfire Award helps ignite new melanoma research

Dr James Wilmott says his Wildfire Award will help expand research into treatment options for people with mucosal melanoma, a rare but deadly form of skin cancer.

Opinion: Fighting the Resistance
25 Aug 2016

Opinion: Fighting the Resistance

Following the recent hype around immunotherapies in cancer, CEO Carole Renouf shares the greatest story never told… resistance… and what MIA is doing to address it.

5 Minutes With A/Prof Jennifer Wargo
11 Aug 2016

5 Minutes With A/Prof Jennifer Wargo

A/Prof Wargo discusses the research she will be presenting as a keynote speaker at the upcoming Australasian Melanoma Conference.

Dr James Wilmott awarded for outstanding cancer research
06 Aug 2016

Dr James Wilmott awarded for outstanding cancer research

Dr James Wilmott has been awarded the Wildfire award at this year's Cancer Institute NSW's Premier Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.

Community invests in MIA's new trial
19 Jul 2016

Community invests in MIA's new trial

The community has responded generously to our recent appeal to fund a specialised nursing position in an exciting new clinical trial. 

New trial giving options
18 Jul 2016

New trial giving options

We have developed a unique clinical trial that will use existing drugs to target rare genes in melanoma patients.

Melanoma research summary from ASCO
07 Jul 2016

Melanoma research summary from ASCO

Data presented at the recent ASCO Annual Meeting showcased advances in melanoma research, particularly long-term survival data.

Our Privacy Policy has been updated
06 Jul 2016

Updated privacy policy

We value your privacy and want you to be familiar with how we collect, use and disclose your information.

Can cognitive technology assist with melanoma identification?
29 Jun 2016

Can cognitive technology assist with melanoma identification?

Melanoma Institute Australia has partnered with IBM Research in Australia to help further advance melanoma identification using cognitive technology.

'4 Questions With...' Series
24 Jun 2016

'4 Questions With...' Series

CEO Carole Renouf chats to senior clinicians and researchers as part of our "4 Questions With..." short video series. 

Stop the Spread campaign shortlisted
22 Jun 2016

Stop the Spread campaign shortlisted

MIA's 'Stop the Spread' campaign has been shortlisted in the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma: the hidden skin cancer
22 Jun 2016

Merkel Cell Carcinoma: the hidden skin cancer

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare but aggressive skin cancer that is often hard to diagnose.