|Skin cancer prevention in Townsville is a significant public health issue. the tropical city of Townsville with over 300 days of sunshine per year has one of the highest skin cancer rates not only in Australia, but in the world. As one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, Townsville City Council and Suncorp have partnered and established Townsville's Sunsafety Programme that recognises the importance of sun safety and addresses skin cancer prevention at a local level.
The Sunsafety Program commenced in 2005 with the aim of promoting skin cancer awareness and prevention to the broader Townsville community and has since established itself as a credible community-based initiative. Sunsafety promotes and provides sun safe messages and supportive environments to the Townsville community through a multi-faceted health promotion approach to educate and raise awareness.
Sunsafety Program Objectives
- Awareness: To raise awareness of and promote sun safety within the Townsville community.
- Proactive Intervention: To provide sun safe supportive environments through targeted on-the-ground initiatives and event support.
The Sunsafety Program has achieved many successes through the implementation of positive, community-based, outcome-drive initiatives. Strategies and tools such as community engagement activities, targeted collateral, advertising, paid and unpaid media, health promotion, infrastructure, social marketing techniques and local research have provided a solid platform for the sustainability and future endeavours of the Sunsafety Program.
The attached documents showcase some of the community-based initiatives undertaken by Sunsafety.
Protecting your Skin from the Sun
To protect your skin from Townsville's UV rays, a combination of the following measures is best:
- Sun-protective clothing - that cover as much skin as possible.
- Apply SPF30+ sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every 2 hours afterwards.
- Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Seek shade wherever possible. However you can still burn in the shade so it is important to practice other sun safe measures as well. Sand, water, concrete and the pavement can all reflect UV rays. UV can also penetrate clouds, so it's possible to burn on cool, overcast days.
- Avoid peak times between 10am and 3pm when UV levels reach their highest. UV levels are high all year round in Townsville.
Remember, it only takes 6 minutes to burn so make sure you are prepared before you go out in the sun.
It is also important to regularly check skin for moles or changes. Get your GP to check your skin at your next check up or visit the skin clinic.
You can find out more about skin cancer and staying sun safe by clicking the links below:
Townsville and North Queensland is a beautiful place to live with over 300 days of sunshine but there is a serious side to the North Queensland summer with potential risks for natural disasters such as flooding and cyclones, tropical diseases (e.g. dengue) and higher rates of skin cancer.
Townsville City Council is committed to educating residents about the natural dangers that can occur in North Queensland and recommends you view the Living in the North Guide. This guide is your one-stop-shop for summer and we encourage you to keep this guide on your fridge or in a handy place. The guide is a quick reference for natural dangers and helps you to stay prepared.
For more information, please contact the Sunsafety team on 1300 878 001 or email Sunsafety.