CANCER Council Queensland is calling on schoolies to practice better sun protection, with research showing they have the highest rates of sunburn in Queensland.
According to the latest Self Reported Health Status survey, around 75 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16-17 years reported being sunburnt in the past 12 months - and 18 per cent in the previous weekend.
The 18-24 year age group reported the second-highest rates of sunburn - around 72 per cent in the previous 12 months, and 16 per cent in the previous weekend.
In a state which has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, only 4.4 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16-17 years admitted to taking all five recommended precautions during summer - Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said a slack attitude toward sun safety could greatly increase the risk of deadly skin cancers.
"Schoolies will hit the beach and summer sun this week in conjunction with the launch of National Skin Cancer Action Week - and we're asking them to take their skin cancer risk seriously," Ms Clift said.
"Sunburn simply isn't cool. The statistics are alarming and we Queenslanders can do better - we have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
"The effects of inadequate sun protection can be ugly - not only are you increasing your risk of skin cancer, but also premature aging.
"Take the time to remind your friends and yourself to Slip on protective clothing, Slop on SPF 30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies.
"Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes and sun exposure can easily add up throughout the day.
"Reducing your risk is simple; don't get caught out by remembering to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide."
Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Around 133,000 non-melanoma and 3000 melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed in Queensland each year.
In 2010, 40 Queenslanders aged 16-24 years were diagnosed with melanoma.
More information about reducing your risk of skin cancer and National Skin Cancer Action Week is available at www.cancerqld.org.au.
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