The famous ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign in the 1980s did much for raising awareness of sun safety in Australia. Who could forget Sid the Seagull or the catchy jingle? Although many things have changed since Sid first appeared on our TV screens (including the sun safety guidelines themselves!), our sun is still the same. 

99% of Australian skin cancer cases are caused by exposure to the sun’s UV radiation, which means it is nearly an entirely preventable cancer. This week’s National Skin Cancer Action Week is the perfect reminder that we can do just that: take ACTION against skin cancer before it starts. 

How to take action?

  • Use sun protection every day the UV index levels reach 3 or higher (HINT: that’s every day in Townsville!). This means:
    • Slip on sun protective clothing
    • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen at least 20 mins before you go outdoors – and REAPPLY every two hours afterwards
    • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat 
    • Seek shade
    • Slide on sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian standards. 
  • Take simple steps at home where sun protection forms part of your morning ‘get out of the house’ routine (e.g. keep a bottle of sunscreen near your front door, where you can easily ‘slop’ some on the kids and yourself on the way out).
  • Encourage sun protection measures in your workplace. Even something as simple as a bottle of sunscreen at the front desk is a good start!
  • Get familiar with your skin. Regularly conduct your own skin check so you can easily identify any changes. See our previous blog for more details: 
  • Have regular skin checks with a trained skin cancer doctor using a dermatoscope, a special tool which allows doctors to more accurately diagnose potentially deadly melanoma (which can otherwise be difficult to identify). 

To kick off National Skin Cancer Action Week, our very own Dr Helena Rosengren spoke to Michael Clarke on ABC North Qld radio on Monday morning. We thank the local media for their continued support in sharing SunSmart messages, helping to reduce skin cancer rates and save lives.

In case you missed it, here’s a recording of the interview: 

On a national scale, the Cancer Council of Australia is calling on the Australian Government to invest in another mass media campaign to increase awareness about skin cancer risk and associated behaviour changes. We don’t know if Sid the Seagull could ever be replaced but who knows, perhaps soon we’ll all be humming a new irritating tune about sun protection – that will be a good day! 

(If you’d like to take a step back in time, here’s a link to the original Sid the Seagull ad:

If you have had a skin check delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to book in as soon as possible, especially if you have previously had a skin cancer removed. Please call us on 4779 0099 or Book Now