Would you believe me if I told you that a series of simple text messages could help save your life?
It could be true when it comes to skin cancer. A trial called HealthyTexts was recently undertaken by CCQ and QUT on more than 500 Queenslanders to improve their overall sun protection and skin check behaviours – and it worked.
A series of personalised texts – mentioning name, gender, sunburn history, skin cancer risk factors and skin check habits – were sent to remind Queenslanders to stay SunSmart in real time, and to check their skin regularly for any new spots or lesions, or changes to existing spots or lesions that would prompt a visit to a GP.
Texts encouraging Queenslanders to check their skin were most effective among people under 32 years of age, and those with fair or very fair skin. The texts reminding Queenslanders to be SunSmart were most effective among those with fair or very fair skin, and men involved in the trial.
The research will be used to develop SunSmart strategies and upcoming studies, and is a timely reminder about our need to stay SunSmart and reduce our risk of skin cancer.
It’s easy to forget the essentials – and as we come into cooler months, many Queenslanders mistakenly believe that sunscreen and broad-brimmed hats are optional – but in our aptly named Sunshine State, they’re not.
So keep yourself safe with our top three tips this month!
1. Sun protection for me – when the UV is three (and above)!
Sun protection is required when the UV Index level is three or above – which is all year round in Queensland, even during cloudy, cooler and winter months. Check the daily UV in real time on the Cancer Council’s SunSmart app!
2. Get to know your own skin – really well.
Check your skin regularly, and look out for new spots or lesions (even moles or freckles), or changes to existing spots or lesions – in shape, colour or size. See your GP straight away if you notice any changes.
3. Give your friends a good Slip, Slop, Slap!
Give your mates a good slap of sunscreen, set up your picnics in the shade and share your fashion tips for the best wide-brimmed hats this season! Help your friends reduce their risk of skin cancer too.
You can be a part of future HealthyText trials by emailing [email protected]
For more information call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 or go to www.cancerqld.org.au.