A new study shows over 100 lives and $60 million were saved in NSW over eight years due to skin cancer campaigns.
We have seen a huge cultural shift in Australians’ attitudes towards sun exposure but it will take a sustained effort to end skin cancer as we know it.
Professor David Currow
CEO and Chief Cancer Officer
The Cancer Institute NSW produced three skin cancer campaigns between 2006 and 2013, preventing an estimated 13,174 skin cancer cases and 112 skin cancer deaths.
Australia has the highest rates of skin cancers in the world, with approximately 13,000 new cases diagnosed in 2015.
Changing attitudes to sun exposure
We know 95-99 per cent of skin cancers are preventable through good sun protection, the challenge is changing attitudes and behaviours around sun safety.
Chief Cancer Officer and Cancer Institute NSW CEO, Professor David Currow said the Institute is embarking on these campaigns to reduce the immense burden of this disease on the people of NSW.
“We have seen a huge cultural shift in Australians’ attitudes towards sun exposure but it will take a sustained effort to end skin cancer as we know it,” Professor Currow said.
“This study provides further evidence that investing in these skin cancer awareness campaigns is money well spent.”
Financial returns of skin cancer campaigns
The study, published in PLOS ONE, highlights the significant financial return these campaigns are producing for the state.
The Institute’s campaigns saved NSW an estimated $3.85 for every dollar invested – an almost four-fold return.
The total saving, $60.17 million over eight years, was made across treatment and productivity costs for lives where cancer was removed or detected early as a result of a campaign.
The campaigns, targeting young people in NSW, primarily used television commercials as well as billboards and online.
- Tattoo conveyed the irreversible effects of unsafe sun behaviour
- Dark Side of Tanning highlighted the dangers tanning can cause even before any sign of burning
- Wes Bonny told the true story of a fit, health 26 year-old young man who died from skin cancer
The current campaign, Pretty Shady, aims to encourage young people aged 18–24 to push for change and be the generation that stops skin cancer.