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Why Is The Skin Cancer Rate So High In Australia?

Australians' skins lack a protective pigmentation which makes them more vulnerable to UV rays


What's going on?

Australia is one of the countries with a high cancer rate, and it has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main factor that causes damage to the DNA in the skin cells, turning it into cancer cells. It has been found that being exposed to UV radiation from the sun or other sources such as solaria will lead to a higher chance of skin cancer. In fact, getting a sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer.


While many believe that Australia’s severely thinned and depleted ozone layer is the main reason behind the country’s high cancer rate, in reality, the ozone depletion does not make any difference to the skin cancer rates. The main reason is due to the skin type of most Australians, which lacks protective pigmentation as a result of the migration of their ancestors originating from countries with less sunny climates. Research has shown that people with fair skin makes them more vulnerable to the UV rays from the sun.


This explains why Australia tops the list of highest rates of cancer, followed by New Zealand, Ireland, Hungary, and the United States. To help lower down the cancer rate, Australia launched the Slip-Slop-Slap, an internationally recognized sun protection health campaign, and it is proving to be successful in raising awareness and effectively leads to lower skin cancer rates.