Shocking data: North Coast is a cancer hotspot
NEW data has revealed the North Coast has more cancer patients than anywhere else in Australia, and almost double the cases of melanoma.
The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found for every 100,000 people on the North Coast, 546 were diagnosed with some variation of cancer between 2009 and 2013.
This was well above the national average of 497 cases per 100,000 people.
The data also revealed the North Coast had the highest rate of melanoma cases across NSW and Australia, presenting 90 cases per 100,000 people - almost double the national average rate.
The Cancer Council's communications and events coordinator, Christina Mastoris, said the cancer rates could be significantly decreased if residents remembered to take care and look after their skin.
"We know that melanoma is highly preventable, with 95 per cent of melanomas caused by overexposure to UV,” she said.
"These statistics are a timely reminder for NSW North Coast residents to not become complacent with sun protection, even as winter approaches.”
The Cancer Council's prevention message is simple: "slip, slop, slap, seek and slide”.
"Whenever UV is three or above, slip on sun protective clothing, slop on sunscreen, slap on a sun-safe hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses,” Ms Mastoris said.
Residents are advised to be sun safe all year round, as the UV index can be three or above for the whole year in this area.
Ms Mastoris said the SunSmart app was an easy way to check the daily UV level at your location.
Cancer Council NSW runs various skin cancer prevention programs across the region to reinforce sun protection and skin cancer awareness.
Some of the North Coast local programs include SunSmart, which supports primary schools, child care centres and out of school hours care services to help minimise student and staff overexposure to UV radiation.
Improve Your Long Game is a skin cancer prevention program for men over 40 in NSW gold clubs.
For more information on the Cancer Council's skin cancer prevention programs and where they operate, visit www.cancercouncil.com.au.