Australian teenagers are turning their backs on tanning amid growing concerns over skin cancer, according to The Cancer Council's National Sun Survey. The survey shows that teenagers are resisting the urge to tan because of skin cancer risks.
The Survey interviewed 5,073 Australian adults and 699 Australian teenagers aged 12 to 17 by telephone during the summer of 2003/04, and found that 68 % of those aged 12-17 said they had not tried to get a tan that summer, even though 60 % said they would like a tan. However, it found one in four teenagers were still getting sun burnt on a typical summer weekend.
Releasing the results on Sunday, Cancer Council Australia's national skin cancer committee chairman Craig Sinclair said they represented a mixed bag as far as skin cancer prevention went.
He said melanomas, the most serious and potentially deadly form of skin cancers, were the most common form of cancer in people aged 15-19, making up 24 per cent of all cancers in people of that age group.
Mr. Sinclair applauded the 68% of the teenagers who refused tanning, but also showed concern on the fact that 25 % of teenagers are still getting sun burnt on a typical summer weekend.
He also warned, "We need to protect ourselves not just at the beach, but when we are enjoying a barbecue in the backyard, playing sport or are just out and about."
The survey also found that teenagers were still more susceptible to the allure of tanning than adults, with more than twice the percentage of teenagers (32%) than adults (15 %) reporting they had tried to get a tan. A lower percentage of adults (39 %) than teenagers (60 %) said they liked getting a tan.
Adults were also more likely to protect themselves in the sun. According to the survey, 48 % of adults compared with 38 % of teenagers wore headgear in the sun, with 23 per cent of adults and just five per cent of teenagers wearing a wide-brimmed hat. 55 % of adults compared with 22 % of teenagers wore sunglasses.
Most teenagers were sunburnt while at the beach, pool or water, with 80 % of teenagers going outdoors during peak ultra-violet ray times.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Australia, with one person diagnosed with the disease every 90 seconds.