Skin cancers are the most common form of cancers in New Zealand. Each year, skin cancer results in nearly 350 deaths in New Zealand, with about 250 of these from melanoma. The vast majority of these cancers are preventable as over 90% of all skin cancers are attributed to excessive sun exposure. Sunburn now could lead to skin cancer later in life.
Children, particularly those with a fairer skin complexion, represent an at risk group in developing skin cancers. Children are more likely to spend extended times playing outdoors, particularly in summer months. Limiting UV exposure during the school day, particularly between the hours of 10am and 4pm during Daylight Savings months - September and April, and during school years could reduce the incidence of skin cancers later in life.
Skin cancer prevention requires a focus on both environmental and individual behaviour change in order to reduce harmful exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Did you know?
New Zealand’s summer time UV radiation levels are about 40% higher than levels at similar latitudes in the northern hemisphere summer.
More than 60,000 new cases of skin cancer occur each year.
UV exposure before the age of 20 years is a particularly strong risk factor for melanoma incidence.
Information and guidelines on ways to improve sun safety in schools can be found in our Guidance documents section. In order to ensure sustainable changes in sun safety, it is important that these guidelines are implemented using a 'whole school approach'. This means embedding sun safety messages and practices into Curriculum, teaching and learning, School organisation and ethos and Community links and partnerships.
To see examples of what other schools have done, check out our Case studies section, and be sure to look through our Resources for links to free toolkits, posters, books and other information to support your sun safety programme.