It's time to outlaw sunburn on reality TV shows - enough is enough
31 July 2017
It feels like groundhog day - another reality TV show, another batch of blatantly sunburnt contestants.
Earlier this year it was Cheryl on Married At First Sight. Last night it was Australian Survivor's turn - and its debut didn't disappoint in the sunburn stakes. Who else noticed the bare arms, backs, shoulders and legs exposed to the searing heat and elements? The painful glow of raw sunburn the inevitable result.
When will TV producers get with the program? Sunburn drastically increases your risk of melanoma, and melanoma kills. It's a sad reality for too many Australian families. One Australian dies from melanoma every five hours, and it kills more 20-39 year olds than any other cancer.
Surely TV executives have a responsibility to safeguard contestants from harm during the filming of what ultimately is a game. They wouldn't ask contestants to perform death defying stunts without full safety equipment and harnesses. So why do they ignore the very real and potentially deadly health risk that comes from sunburn?
But more than that, reality TV shows also have a responsibility not to normalise sunburn, and by doing so, portray it as a sign of strength and endurance. While network executives are no doubt this morning basking in the glory of Australian Survivor's ratings success, I'm lamenting the fact that thousands of impressionable young viewers are now even more desensitised to the dangers of sunburn. Melanoma is not a game, and its greatest risk factor - sunburn - has no place on a reality TV game show.
It makes me frustrated. It makes me angry. But mostly it makes me sad. While we at Melanoma Institute Australia are trialling new melanoma treatments to save lives, and educating the community about the need to protect themselves from the sun, shows like Australian Survivor are doing the exact opposite during prime-time viewing.
My challenge to the networks is this: let's outlaw sunburn on reality TV shows, and treat it like the potential killer it is, just like smoking and drink driving. By forging an alliance, we can outwit, outplay and outlast melanoma. Only then will our children and grandchildren be the ultimate survivors.
CEO, Melanoma Institute Australia
For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Durante |Melanoma Institute Australia | 0412 798 990 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanoma Masterclass celebrates Australian luminaries who have transformed melanoma treatment worldwide
The extraordinary contribution of Australia’s most distinguished melanoma clinicians and researchers is being celebrated today.
Congratulations to Professor Richard Scolyer who was awarded the William O. Russell/Joanne Vandenberge Hill Award of Excellence in Pathology.
A Day in the Life Of... Serigne Lo, Research and BioStatistics Manager at Melanoma Institute Australia
Jay was your typical Aussie bloke – a truck driver, husband, dad and mate to many. Then he got melanoma. His cancer diagnosis turned his life upside down.
Clair faced an impossible choice – risk delivering her baby early, or delay potentially life-saving melanoma treatment
Little Madi misses her Dad. But she is determined to honour his memory and support life-saving melanoma research.
Toyota and country music fans invited to tip their hat to help tackle Australia's national cancer – melanoma
Melanoma Institute Australia has teamed up with the Toyota Country Music Festival 2018 in Tamworth!
MIA's dermatologist shares her knowledge with GPs on debunking myths and controversies on sunscreen.
Shannan Ponton thought he was invincible – he wasn’t. But his melanoma battle ended up saving more than his own life.
Researchers have demonstrated that immunotherapy is highly effective in treating a rare form of melanoma – a result that is surprising due to the nature of the tumour.
Innovation is helping to prevent melanoma developing in the first place.
Research from MIA is changing the way melanoma is managed worldwide and improving patient survival. Here are a few of our key highlights from this year.
A prestigious Fellowship has been awarded to fund research that will change the way melanoma treatment is assessed in the future.
New research from MIA has been published that forms the basis of the updated international guidelines for staging melanoma.
Professor William McCarthy AM has been awarded the Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Care.
Leading researchers from MIA have been acknowledged with three prestigious awards for excellence in melanoma research.
New research shows that patients who are more likely to respond to immunotherapy treatment have a greater diversity in their gut bacteria.
2018 will be bigger than ever, and a little bit different.
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, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, who have today been announced as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.