SUN SMART: Caydan Sheppard applies sunscreen at Nielson Park Beach.
SUN SMART: Caydan Sheppard applies sunscreen at Nielson Park Beach. Mike Knott BUN250918SUNSAFE2

Bargara is region's skin cancer hotspot

NEW data from a ground breaking Queensland research project has revealed Bargara is Bundaberg's skin cancer hotspot.

Bargara was found to have 66 per cent higher melanoma diagnoses than the Australian average.

With summer well on the way and locals in the region enjoying an outdoor lifestyle, the data is a stark reminder to slip, slop, slap when spending time in the sun.

Bundaberg North sat behind Bargara at 63 per cent - and was followed by Avoca and Millbank at 51 per cent and Kepnock and Ashfield at 44 per cent above the national average of melanoma diagnoses.

The Australian Cancer Atlas - a world-leading research project four years in the making - is an interactive map developed by researchers at Cancer Council Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and FrontierSI.

The map allows people to research region and suburb-specific data on 20 of the most common cancers including lung, brain, thyroid, liver, breast and cervical cancer.

Cancer Council Queensland head of research Professor Joanne Aitken said prevention was vital. "The majority of skin cancers are preventable, so it is essential all Australians take measures to protect themselves from harmful UV damage,” Professor Aitken said.

Data also found that Kepnock has a lung cancer diagnosis rate 48 per cent above the national average, along with 35 per cent higher diagnoses of head and neck cancers.

Avenell Heights was found to have the lowest percentage of melanoma in Bundaberg, at just 29 per cent above average.

Bundaberg locals Sally Sheppard and her son Caydan Sheppard told the NewsMail what they think it means to be sun smart this summer.

"Always cover up with a hat, sunscreen and a shirt,” Ms Sheppard said.

Ms Sheppard said it was important to start sun safety for kids at an early age.

"Kids go out in the sun each day and are active children. They always cover up with swim shirts and sunscreen before they go outside, especially in the hot sun.”

Cayden Sheppard said it was important to stay sun safe "so that you don't get freckles”.



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