Cancers in Australia attributable to exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation and prevented by regular sunscreen use

Olsen, Catherine M., Wilson, Louise F., Green, Adele C., Bain, Christopher J., Fritschi, Lin, Neale, Rachel E. and Whiteman, David C. (2015) Cancers in Australia attributable to exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation and prevented by regular sunscreen use. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39 5: 471-476. doi:10.1111/1753-6405.12470


Author Olsen, Catherine M.
Wilson, Louise F.
Green, Adele C.
Bain, Christopher J.
Fritschi, Lin
Neale, Rachel E.
Whiteman, David C.
Title Cancers in Australia attributable to exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation and prevented by regular sunscreen use
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1753-6405
1326-0200
Publication date 2015-10-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1753-6405.12470
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 39
Issue 5
Start page 471
End page 476
Total pages 6
Place of publication Richmond, VIC Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objectives: To estimate the proportion and numbers of cancers occurring in Australia attributable to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and the proportion and numbers prevented by regular sun protection factor (SPF) 15+ sunscreen use.

Methods: We estimated the population attributable fraction (PAF) and numbers of melanomas and keratinocyte cancers (i.e. basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas) due to exposure to ambient UVR resulting from residing in Australia versus residing in the UK (for melanoma) or Scandinavia (for keratinocyte cancers). We also estimated the prevented fraction (PF): the proportion of cancers that would have occurred but were likely prevented by regular sunscreen use.

Results: An estimated 7,220 melanomas (PAF 63%) and essentially all keratinocyte cancers occurring in Australia were attributable to high ambient UVR levels in Australia. We estimated that regular sunscreen use prevented around 14,190 (PF 9.3%) and 1,730 (PF 14%) people from developing SCC and melanoma, respectively.

Conclusions: Although our approach was conservative, a high proportion of skin cancers in Australia are attributable to high ambient levels of UVR. Prevailing levels of sunscreen use probably reduced skin cancer incidence by 10–15%.

Implications: Most skin cancers are preventable. Sunscreen should be a component of a comprehensive sun protection strategy.
Keyword Melanoma
Population attributable fraction
Skin cancer
Solar radiation
Sunscreen
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
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