There are many things that increase your risk of skin cancer, like the colour of your skin, or if you have a family history of melanoma. Another big one is if you have grown up in Australia.
This might sound like a weird thing…..having grown up here makes me more at risk of skin cancer, but the logic is pretty simple. Heaps of research has been done into this and they have found that your skin is more sensitive when you are under the age of 18, coupled with the fact that you probably got burnt once, twice or more when you were younger. It is worse if you have had blistering or severe sunburns when you were a child.
Australia has high levels of UV, plus we live in a country that is beautiful so we want to spend as much time outside enjoying it. And as kids we don’t tend to wear a lot of clothing in summer because it is so damn hot. And this combination when growing up has meant that if you grew up in Australia, you probably have a greater lifetime risk of skin cancer than someone who moved over here as an adult.
And the risks of UV radiation were not really understood until the 80s with the Slip Slop Slap campaign, so before that we all just went outside without any knowledge of the risks of skin cancer simply by playing outside. Sure we know a lot more now, and a lot of schools get their kids to wear hats and put on sunscreen before going outside, but it wasn’t always this way.
So if you have grown up in Australia, it is good to know that you have a great lifetime risk of skin cancer; another great reason to remember to use sun protection when you are work outdoors.