Cancer survivor warns of sun risk

Clinton Heal talks to students. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d411562
Clinton Heal talks to students. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d411562

Melanoma WA’s Clinton Heal, the 2011 Young Australian of the Year and a cancer survivor himself, said people could do more than put on some sunscreen.

He said people should avoid the midday sun, wear wide-brimmed hats, clothes that cover the back of the neck and sunglasses.

‘We’re not asking people to stop going outside, but we want them to take five minutes to put measures in place to better protect themselves, because you can go outside without getting sunburnt,’ he said.

‘Our skin is precious and it needs to be protected.’

Mr Heal brought his message to Phoenix Primary School for Sunbrero Day, a joint push from Melanoma WA and the Scott Kirkbride Melanoma Research Centre.

He said using sombreros proved kids were aware they needed to look after their skin, with the use of shock tactics no longer needed.

‘We’ve definitely come a long way and primary school kids are more aware now than they were 10 years ago. They are really jumping on board,’ he said.

‘What we want now is to push that message into high schools, where kids might not think that caps or protective clothing are ‘cool’ so to speak.’