With the return of summer, Seqwater and Cancer Council Queensland are urging people to protect themselves against the sun while enjoying South East Queensland’s lakes and dams.

The combination of hot temperatures and the start of school holidays have already seen thousands of people flock to the region’s dams and lakes to cool off and get a much-needed reprieve from the heat.

Seqwater spokesman Mike Foster said more than 2.6 million people visited the region’s lakes and surrounding catchments each year, with Wivenhoe and Somerset dams two of the most popular recreation destinations.

“Seqwater’s lakes and dams continue to be summer holiday hotspots for both locals and tourists,” Mr Foster said.

“These areas offer spectacular scenery and a range of recreational experiences such as boating, fishing, picnicking and swimming.

“While people enjoy the sunshine though, it’s important they take sensible steps to protect themselves from harmful UV rays.”

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said with the Sunshine State well and truly into summer, heeding the SunSmart message was more important than ever.

“Our climate and demographics make us uniquely vulnerable to skin cancer, with the UV Index reaching harmful levels of three or above from early in the morning during summer months,” Ms Clift said.

“Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world – and yet most skin cancers can be prevented with appropriate sun protection.

“More than 3600 Queenslanders are diagnosed with melanoma each year, and it is estimated that over 350,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are treated.”

Ms Clift said the alarming figures reinforced an urgent warning for Queenslanders to follow all five steps for sun protection – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, and Slide.

“Slip on protective clothing, Slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on wrap-around sunnies when out and about this summer,” Ms Clift said.

“Sunburn is a sign of irreparable damage to the skin, and can affect a person’s health in both the short and long term, significantly increasing risks of future skin cancer.

“Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes, even on cold and overcast days – so it’s imperative to take sun safety seriously.”

Mr Foster said the sun safety message was in line with Seqwater’s Play it safe campaign, which encouraged the community to take responsibility for their own safety when visiting the region’s lakes.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland, and reducing the risk of skin cancer, is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au. For information about Seqwater’s dams, lakes and parks visit seqwater.com.au

Sun Safety facts:

  •  You can get sun damage in any weather. Skin damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not temperature.
  • Sun protection is required when the UV index is three or above – in Queensland this is all year around, and from around 7:30am each day in summer. Check daily UV levels at cancer.org.au/SunSmartApp.
  • Cancer Council recommends all Queenslanders use at least one teaspoon of minimum SPF 30+ broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen per limb, front and back of the torso, and on the face, neck and ears. A uniform coverage of sunscreen at a greater thickness will give you the best protection.
  • No sunscreen is a suit of armour, and sunscreen should never be used to extend the amount of time you spend in the sun. SPF50+ only offers marginally better protection than SPF30+, filtering 98 per cent of UV compared to 96.7 per cent, respectively.
  • There is no such thing as a safe tan. If skin darkens, it is a sign of skin cells in trauma, even if there is no redness or peeling. Skin darkens as a way of trying to protect itself because the UV rays are damaging cells.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Seqwater Media (07) 3247 3000 or media@seqwater.com.au
Cancer Council Queensland 3634 5171 or lisamaynard@cancerqld.org.au