Research and facts on sun safety
Scientific research is absolutely essential in the battle to reduce New Zealanders’ high rates of skin cancer. The HPA carries out its own research, while our national and international partners also contribute hugely to the wealth of skin cancer research produced each year.
The HPA leads the development of some key sun safety research, such as the Triennial Sun Exposure Survey. To find out more, click here.
This section includes the results from the Health and Lifestyles survey (Sunbed use), 2009/10 National Sun Exposure Survey, and the results of the HPA Never Let Your Child Get Sunburnt communications campaign. Also included are links to NZ data on skin cancer and melanoma rates, including regional break down of data. The statistics section will provide you with some quick facts about skin cancer in New Zealand.
Latest fact sheets
Research Advisory Group
In October 2011, researchers and other key staff from the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit, Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit, NIWA, HPA, MelNet, Cancer Society of New Zealand and Cancer Control of New Zealand met to discuss current work in the field of skin cancer prevention and early detection research. The aims for the day were to:
• Identify the range of research activities relating to skin cancer prevention and early detection that are currently underway in New Zealand;
• Define gaps in knowledge and priority research areas;
• Incorporate feedback into a draft research strategy.
The broad categories of future research projects to address information needs include: personal risk factors for development of melanoma/skin cancer; behavioural/environmental and policy interventions; monitoring data and evaluation. Click here to download a copy of the full report.
National Sun Exposure Survey
Started in 1994, this ongoing sun protection survey takes place every three years, and collects information on New Zealanders' sun protection behaviour and attitudes. Results from the 2009/10 survey are presented below.
The next survey will take place in the summer of 2012/13 and will be co-funded by the HPA and Cancer Society of New Zealand.
Also presented below are the responses of a youth sample aged 13-17 years and the younger adult sample aged 18-24 years
Results from the SES were examined to find out whether people who were concerned about getting vitamin D from the sun showed different sun protection behaviours compared with the overall population. The results are briefly outlined in the attached fact sheet.
Evaluation of Communications Campaign (‘Never Let Your Child Get Sunburnt’)
HPA’s communications about sun safety is evaluated through post-campaign surveys. Campaign awareness is also measured by the Health and Lifestyles Survey, which is repeated every two years. Given below is the result from the Never Let Your Child Get Sunburnt communication campaign, which began in 2008 and ran for three years.
Two key measures of the NLYCGS campaign were to assess awareness of the campaign and its messages, and any resulting behavioural changes.
Download In Fact: Did the messages get through?
Download In Fact: Did the messages lead to behavioural change?
New Zealand data
Latest data : Cancers - New registrations and deaths 2008
This annual statistical publication collates and analyses data on primary malignant tumour cases diagnosed in New Zealand, as reported to the New Zealand Cancer Registry.
Other national and international research and data
Ready to Wear Sun Protection Clothing Fits the Bill
June 8 2012
To find out more about ready to wear sun protection clothing that fits the bill click here.
IARC Working Group Solar and UV radiation report
May 8 2012
Solar and ultraviolet radiation were considered by a previous International Agency for Research Centre (IARC) Working Group in 1992 (IARC, 1992). Since that time, new data have become available, these have been incorporated into the Monograph, and taken into consideration in the present evaluation. Click here to read the full document.
UV photographs of 12-year-olds show skin cancer risk
1 May 2012
Ultraviolet (UV) photography has been used to motivate sun safety in behavioural interventions. A recent article in the American Academy of Dermatology shows that UV photography might provide important information about risk, not visible to the naked eye. To read more, click here.
Skin cancer prevention in Australia
21 March 2012
Australian sun safety interventions have demonstrated that social marketing campaigns can be very effective method to not only motivate behavioural change, but more importantly, reducing melanoma rates.
Read article : Skin cancer prevention in Australia
Children's sun exposure and sun protection: Prevalence in Australia and related parental factors. September 2011 Authors: Suzanne Dobbinson PhD, Melanie Wakefield PhD, David Hill PhD , AfafGirgis PhD, Joanne F. Aitken PhD, Kerri Beckmann MPH, Anthony I.Reeder PhD, Natalie Herd BA, & BSc (Hons)a, Matthew J. Spittal PhD, Andrew Fairthorne LLB, BSc and Kelly-Ann Bowles BSc.
This paper describes the prevalence of children’s sun-related behaviors and associated parental and other factors.
- Costs of skin cancer to New Zealand 2009 report (Cancer Society of New Zealand website)
- Skin cancer mortality rates - comparisons by age, gender and year (Excel, 30KB) (supplied by the New Zealand Health Information Service)
- Melanoma mortality rates – comparisons by age, gender and year (Excel, 624KB) (supplied by the New Zealand Health Information Service)
- New Zealand regional cancer rates - records of cancer rates by region, age, gender and year (Excel, 224KB) (supplied by the New Zealand Health Information Service)
- New Zealand Health Information Service website has more data, statistics and information on cancer.
The following sites have information about melanoma and other skin cancers around the world.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer website (World Health Organisation)
- World Health Organisation Global InfoBase is a data warehouse that collects, stores and displays information on chronic diseases and their risk factors for all WHO member states, including New Zealand.
- The National Institute for Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) undertake environmental research around issues such as ozone depletion and the effect of altitude on UV radiation levels.
The Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Group at the University of Otago also contributes significantly to knowledge in this area.