SUMMER IS ON THE WAY: About 45% of Gympie region residents get sunburnt each year, but we are not the worst.
SUMMER IS ON THE WAY: About 45% of Gympie region residents get sunburnt each year, but we are not the worst. Mangostock

Gympie’s burning truth: we're at risk of skin cancer

SCORCHING figures show Gympie locals are increasing their risk of skin cancer, with nearly 45% of adults getting sunburnt every year.

But compared to our neighbours and other parts of Queensland, we are not doing too bad (see factbox below).

More than 66% of Gympie region locals aged 18-34 get sunburnt each year, compared to 60% of those aged 35-54 and 22% of those aged over 55.

Within the Gympie local government region, about 1750 people have reported having a melanoma and 3000 have reported having some other form of skin cancer. The number of males who reported ever having had a non-melanoma skin cancer was 2.7 times higher than females.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said sunburn caused significant, unrepairable damage to skin cells.

"Sunburn is linked to all skin cancers including melanoma - the most deadly form of the disease," Ms Clift said.

"What most Queenslanders don't realise is that sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes, even on cold and overcast days - you can still be sunburnt when the temperature is cool.

"Getting sunburnt doesn't just occur during a full day at the beach either - Queenslanders are often burnt unexpectedly at sports games, gardening at home or having a barbecue.

"This is an important reminder for all of us to stay SunSmart, and ensure we follow the recommended sun protective behaviours when the UV Index level is three or above."

Sun protective behaviours are required when the UV Index level is three or above. In Queensland, the UV Index level is three or above all year round.

How sun smart aren't we?

Sunshine Coast

50% of adults get sunburnt every year;

Wide Bay

50% of adults get sunburnt every year;

Central Queensland

60% get sunburnt every year;

Mackay

60% of adults get sunburnt every year;

North Queensland

57% get sunburnt every year;

Far North Queensland

53% get sunburnt every year.

Gympie Times


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