Policy priorities in summary

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Policy priorities in summary


Table 1. National skin cancer reduction strategy

Direct interventions – social marketing, media
Policy priority/action Agency Timetable Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Conduct a national multimedia social marketing campaign to raise awareness of skin cancer risk, sun protection Australian Department of Health and Ageing/Australian National Preventive Health Agency $8m per annum; $32m over a four-year federal budget cycle Over 20 years, 20,000 fewer melanoma cases, 49,000 NMSC cases; annual productivity gain of $90m
Increase knowledge and use of the UV Index and SunSmart UV Alert to help ensure a balanced approach to UV exposure Cancer Council, media partners/outlet Ongoing, with emphasis on high UV risk periods Negligible costs, borne by Cancer Councils Formal evaluation of UV Index benefit yet to be conducted (see research priorities, below)
Increase use of new media to raise awareness of the risks and benefits of UV exposure, particularly among young people Cancer Councils, media partners Ongoing, with greater emphasis/activity during hotter weather Details to be determined; see research priorities
Research - expanding the evidence base
Policy priority/action Agency Timetable Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Conduct National Sun Survey Cancer Council Australia Every three years Cost estimates in development Sun Survey data provides an essential three-yearly guide to skin cancer prevention policy in Australia
Monitor behavioural trends, scoping new methods for tracking non-melanoma skin cancer awareness Cancer Councils Ongoing Through specific research projects Essential to informing policy, public education etc.
Monitor behavioural trends – continue the Primary Schools and Early Childhood Policy and Practices Survey Cancer Council Australia Every three years Funding arrangements to be determined
Evaluate the use and effectiveness of the UV Index through various media, including I-Phone app Cancer Council Australia Continuous improvement in the UV Index's effectiveness
Scope improved use of new media to educate/influence young people regarding UV protection Cancer Councils Ongoing, with greater emphasis/activity during hotter weather Costs borne by Cancer Councils as part of standard operations Not quantifiable, however research suggests younger audiences can be more effectively targeted with new media Recent examples include Cancer Council UV Alert I-Phone application
Monitor epidemiological trends, track vitamin D levels in Australian population Cancer Council Australia Details of research program to be determined
Collect further evidence on cost-effectiveness of skin cancer programs Cancer Councils To be determined Update data in Skin cancer prevention: a blue chip investment in health, published in 2008
Lead national and international research into effective approaches for balancing skin cancer prevention with vitamin D absorption Cancer Councils, allied organisations (such as the Australasian College of Dermatologists) Ongoing Costs borne by Cancer Councils, allies as part of standard operations Greater clarity around complex, often misreported issue of vitamin D adequacy/deficiency and sun protection See position statement
Educational settings – building their UV health promotion capacity
Policy priority/action Agency Timetable Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Evidence-based UV policies and practices implemented in all Australian childcare and pre-school centres Jurisdictional governments, in partnership with Cancer Councils and other NGOs Ongoing Negligible - largely process and policy matters Significant, in that UV damage to young skin is likely to affect long-term skin cancer risk
Evidence-based UV policies and practices implemented in all Australian primary schools, including continued development of the National SunSmart Schools Program in all primary schools Jurisdictional governments, in partnership with Cancer Councils Ongoing Negligible - policy reform Significant, as UV exposure at young ages increases long-term skin cancer risk; SunSmart behaviour should be encouraged in school-aged children Cancer Council welcomes the Australian Government's investment in covered outdoor learning areas in Australian schools, funded through the BER capital grants
Evidence-based UV policies and practices implemented in all Australian secondary schools – including new research into improved practices Jurisdictional governments, in partnership with Cancer Councils and other NGOs Ongoing Negligible - policy reform Significant, as UV exposure at young ages increases long-term skin cancer risk; SunSmart behaviour should also be encouraged in school-aged children Cancer Council welcomes the Australian Government's investment in covered outdoor learning areas in Australian schools, funded through the BER capital grants
Skin cancer control in the workplace
Policy priority/action Agency Timetable Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Mandated evidence-based UV protection practices as a workplace requirement in jurisdictional OH&S legislation Jurisdictional governments According to jurisdictional reviews of legislation Negligible - policy reform Reduced burden of occupational skin cancer Cancer Councils will seek to work closely with governments on continuous improvement in SunSmart work practices
Enhancing early detection and care
Policy priority/action Agency Timetable Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Public education, particularly among people aged over 40 Cancer Councils, allies As opportunities emerge Cancer Council Australia to develop and promote strategies through member organisations and its national Skin Cancer Committee
Improved engagement with/support for GPs as frontline in early skin cancer detection Cancer Councils, allies (e.g. Royal Australian College of GPs) Ongoing Cancer Council Australia to further improve strategies for enhancing skin cancer control in primary care, through member organisation interactive GP programs and nationally through its national Skin Cancer Committee
Improved public access to skin cancer diagnosis and treatment, including for people in remote locations Multiple agencies As opportunities emerge Cancer Council Australia/members to develop a strategy to help ensure access to skin cancer diagnosis and treatment is built into the ongoing national health reform process and any jurisdictional opportunities for enhanced service delivery
Achieve a more balanced, evidence-based approach to the risks and benefits of UV exposure
Policy priority/action Agency Timetable Estimated cost Expected benefit Comments
Dissemination of evidence-based policy advice on UV, skin cancer and vitamin D Cancer Council, clinical/NGO allies Ongoing, according to developments in evidence base Modest Increased public awareness of vitamin D risks and benefits Periodic discussion forums, such as the event hosted by Cancer Council Australia in October 2010, are recommended.

See position statement

Eradication/phasing out of solariums, either through increasingly tight regulation of the industry or a ban Jurisdictional governments, supported by COAG According to jurisdictional developments re legislation or ban Negligible - policy reform Research published in May 2011 shows UV damage linked to solarium use to be significantly higher than previously thought - up to six times the strength of the midday sun. A number of State and Territory Governments have announced a ban on solariums, see the Solariums position statement.
Build evidence base on global warming and skin cancer risk Cancer Council Australia See comments Cancer Council Australia to develop strategy for building this evidence base, through its national Skin Cancer Committee
Boost public awareness through mass media, i.e. use of popular press etc. Cancer Councils Ongoing, as opportunities emerge Modest - through PR strategies etc. Increased public awareness Cancer Councils will seek to use external events, new data and other opportunities to promote increased awareness of vitamin D risks and benefits through the media


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