Michael Klim and Brad Hodge team up against melanoma this summer

Michael Klim and Brad Hodge

The Australian Government and Cancer Council are teaming up with sports stars Michael Klim and Brad Hodge to call on Australian men to pick up their sun protection game this summer. The Olympic swimmer and former cricketer have come together in a quirky ‘in-sun’ safety video, designed to ensure Australian men are thinking about sun safety every time they step outside – just as they think about in-flight safety every time they board a plane.

Why are men more at risk of melanoma?

New Cancer Council research reveals fewer than half (45%) of Australian men agree sun protection is part of their daily routine, despite the fact it’s estimated that men are almost twice as likely as women to die from melanoma. Data released from the Summer Sun Protection (Life in Australia) report found men are half as likely as women to report applying sunscreen (SPF30 or more) as part of their routine in summer (22% compared to 41%).

Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Mark Butler, said: “Overexposure to harmful UV radiation causes 95% of melanomas, making skin cancer almost entirely preventable. We know if we can get people to be safer in the sun – by checking the UV, covering up from the sun with hat, clothes, shade and sunscreen – we can save lives.”

“We are asking all Aussies, in particular men aged over 40, to think of sun safety every time they head outdoors. This video is a fun way to encourage that group to think twice and be SunSmart, whether that’s while playing a round of backyard cricket or on the tools at work.” 

How do Klim and Hodge protect against exposure?

When it comes to where the risky behaviour, men were more likely to have been sunburnt at an outdoor swimming pool or sporting facility (11% vs 7%), or their workplace (7% vs 3%). Having spent most of their sporting careers outdoors, Klim and Hodge are familiar with being exposed to the elements and say sun protection is crucial to their warmup routines. 

Michael Klim commented: “It’s very alarming to hear that men my age tend to be negligent when it comes to being sun smart. Enjoying the outdoors is part of our culture, and with that comes a sense of responsibility. This video is a great reminder of the simple steps that all Australians can take to make sure we’re ready to safely enjoy time outdoors.”

Brad Hodge commented: “Sun safety is critical to me because of my history as a cricket player spending hours on end in the sun. When I was a professional athlete, we had everything supplied for us – sunscreen, zinc, long sleeved shirts, hats and sunglasses.”

“Now, I have to step up and take the necessary precautions to be sun safe. That’s my message for men – be proactive! Add sun smart items to your artillery for when you’re out in the sun, whether you’re working, playing with your kids, or even just resting.”

Why is this a timely partnership?

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Currently, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Cancer Council CEO, Prof. Tanya Buchanan, noted that it’s never too late to improve sun protection habits and more needs to be done to ensure males are safeguarding themselves from the cumulative impact of the sun.

Prof. Tanya Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer at Cancer Council

“We are proud to be working with the Australian Government once again and enlisting the help of respected Australian sporting stars to save lives from our ‘national cancer’,” she said. 

“Even on a cloudy or rainy day, UV levels can still be high and put you at risk, so always check the UV before you head outside. Most skin cancers can be prevented by using all five forms of sun protection. Whenever the UV levels are 3 or above, Australians should Slip on sun protective clothing, Slop on SPF30 or higher, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, Slap on a broadbrimmed hat, Seek shade, and Slide on sunglasses,” Prof. Tanya concluded.

For more information about how to be SunSmart, visit the website.