‘Slip slop slap’ has been the advice I have been giving to prevent skin cancer for many years. The ‘slop’ bit – sunscreen use – has just been scientifically provent to prevent potentially deadly melanoma in an Australian study. For over 20 years I have been removing skin cancers on a daily basis and Melanoma are the ones that cause early death in many cases.
More than 1,600 residents from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast took part in the trial, which ran for four years. Half applied 15-plus sunscreen on their arms, face and neck every day. The other group used it on and off.
After 15 years, there were twice the number of melanomas in the group members who applied sunscreen now and then, compared to the daily use group.
“We found that the group which was randomised for regular sun block use had 11, while in the group that was randomised for sporadic sunblock use [there were] 22 cases of melanoma,” Professor Green said.
Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world, with about 10,000 diagnosed with melanoma each year.
Researchers say the findings reinforce the importance of using sunscreen, but stress it is just one part of preventing skin cancer. Don’t forget the ‘slip’ (on a shirt) and ‘slap’ (on a hat). And remember, the study demonstrated the advantage of daily sunscreen use.