It’s halfway through National Skin Cancer Action Week, Cancer Council’s annual campaign to promote vital sun protection. Can you believe that it has been 40 years since the original ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign featuring Sid the Seagull?

Despite the success of the original campaign, “Australia still has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Currently two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70 every year, and around 2000 Australians die from this disease.” Cancer Council 

While skin cancer is largely a preventable cancer, recent studies had found that only about 35% of Australian women and 21% of men were regular sunscreen users. Many Australians use sun protection on the hottest days of summer but forget that it’s UV, not heat, that leads to skin cancer.

Hence the theme of this year’s Skin Cancer Action Week: the job’s not done until we’re all safe from the sun.

It’s no surprise that we at Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic fully support this important campaign. We are also pleased to see our own patients get behind the campaign, as well as assistance of local media to spread the word across North Queensland.

Lee Weder, now a regular sunscreen user.
The original ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ Cancer Council campaign TV ad.

Words from some of our patients:

Lee Weder, on the benefits using sunscreen regularly: “Your skin feels a lot younger, and more pliable… it feels less rough. After I’ve been out playing golf, I can tell my skin is not nearly affected as much now I’m regularly applying sunscreen. Without sunscreen, my skin starts to go red within 10 minutes”. 

Helen Grant, on the results of her skin check: “One day I just decided not to be so ‘busy’ and book an appointment for what I thought was a pimple. The pimple was diagnosed as a SCC. That was such a shock to me as I am so used to hearing ‘your results have come back clear’.  The SCC was removed and the scar was barely noticeable. I now wear sunscreen on my face …  I fully cover up when in the garden … I find shade whenever I am out and about… and I am never outside without a hat”.

Stacey Letchford, on her family history with skin cancer: “My mum’s first skin cancer was removed when she was 34. She told us she would get burnt all the time as a kid, with consequences now catching up. She is now 61, and has had multiple melanomas cut out, large life-threatening ones too. My sister was also 34 when she had her first skin cancer removed. I am 27, and have had two removed from my face this year, and just unfortunately had another sun spot confirmed.”

Thank you to the following local media for coverage (as at 25 November):

Dr Helena Rosengren on air with Michael Clarke (ABC North Queensland radio), Monday 22 Nov.

Dr Helena Rosengren made an important note regarding Vitamin D levels during the interview: “We do know that we need a little bit of sun for Vitamin D… so this means, only a few minutes going about normal day-to-day tasks WITH sunscreen on. In the summer months here in North Queensland, say at 11am, you literally only need 3 minutes wearing shorts & a shirt out in the sun. That is enough to get your Vitamin D levels – and that is with sunscreen on”

Patient Lee Weder, along with Dr Helena Rosengren, appeared on 7News Townsville on Monday 22 November.

Reporter Paige Van Lunteren: “Dr Helena Rosengren says we need to be aware of incidental sun exposure, like hanging washing out, or driving to work.”

Dr Helena Rosengren: “Just those few minutes here and there add up to cause major mutations in the skin for a lot of people over time, and can then develop into skin cancer. So that is why we need to be really vigilant and use sunscreen every single day.”

Townsville Bulletin, Wed 24 Nov 21.

Since Sid the Seagull first graced our TV screens, our understanding of the causes of skin cancer has changed, and significant advances have been made in the detection and treatment of skin cancer. Keep your eyes on our social media for further updates during National Skin Cancer Action Week! You’ll find us on Facebook and Instagram.