Australian cricket's Twenty20 captain and Test vice-captain, Michael Clarke, has been named as the Cancer Council's new ambassador for the awareness and early detection of skin cancer.
"More than 340,000 Australians get skin cancer each year and 1700 die from it," Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Ian Oliver said in a media release.
"With Michael's help, we want to reduce this figure by promoting sun protection, as well as getting people to be more aware of changes to their skin and consulting their GP."
Michael said his wake-up call came after having two skin cancers removed from his face.
"I noticed two unusual spots on my face and got them checked out by my GP," he said. "It was certainly a wake-up call and having them removed prevented an outcome that could have been a lot more serious.
"This experience reaffirmed the importance of protecting myself from the sun, especially because I am outdoors so much in the summer, which is when UV levels are at a peak."
It's the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in sunlight that causes more than 95 percent of skin cancers. UVR causes sunburn, damage to the genetic make-up of the skin, premature ageing and, in the long-term, increases skin cancer risk.
Your risks of skin cancer increases if you:
- have been exposed to sun as a child;
- work outside, especially in the middle of the day;
- have been regularly sunburnt;
- live closer to the equator;
- have fair or red hair, blue eyes and freckles;
- have a family history of skin cancer;
- have many moles (the more moles, the greater the melanoma risk).
So make sunscreen and a hat your friend this summer. The Cancer Council recommends all Australians keep an eye out for any changes to their skin and speak with their GP as soon as possible if they noticed significant changes.
For more information on sun protection and early detection, visit www.cancer.org.au/sunsmart.