Key messages

  • Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with two in three Australians being diagnosed with the disease before age 70.
  • There are simple, effective measures to reduce the risk of acquiring skin cancer.
  • Early detection means most skin cancers can be successfully treated.     
  • The Skin Cancer Prevention Framework 2013–17 is a comprehensive, community-wide approach to reducing the burden of skin cancer in Victoria.

Skin cancer is a significant burden on the Victorian community.

It is estimated that more than 40,000 cases of skin cancer (including basal and squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) are diagnosed in Victoria each year. Melanoma is the most uncommon form of skin cancer, but it is the most serious, with approximately 370 deaths from melanoma in Victoria each year.

Skin cancer is mostly preventable and is caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Simple protection measures, such as wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen and seeking shade are effective strategies to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The majority of skin cancers can be successfully treated if found early. Changes in skin or moles should be checked by a general practitioner.

Prevention framework

Historically, skin cancer prevention activity in Victoria has been fragmented and has lacked overarching policy to guide effective and sustainable activity. In response to this, the Victorian Government developed the Skin Cancer Prevention Framework 2013–17, a comprehensive, community-wide approach to reducing the burden of skin cancer in Victoria.

The framework identifies a number of opportunities and actions to improve skin cancer prevention initiatives. The initiatives are informed by evidence and extensive consultation with the Victorian health sector and community.

The Skin Cancer Prevention Framework 2013–17 is available to download from this page.

Community and School Shade Grants 

There are no shade grants available at this time, however if you wish to be notified should new shade grant funding rounds open in future, please contact the shade grants program (refer to right hand side of page for contact details). 

The Community and School Shade Grants Programs saw tremendous interest from the community with 6 funding rounds being rolled out and 1083 shade grants awarded, totalling over $10 million in funding.

Community organisations, sporting clubs and schools across Victoria have shown their commitment to being sun smart and have been integral to the success of the program. This has resulted in  a significant increase in the availability of shade in public places where people spend time outdoors, providing much needed protection from ultraviolet overexposure.  

Spending time outdoors is important for keeping physically active and preventing vitamin D deficiency. However, this needs to be balanced with the risks of skin cancer from over-exposure to UV radiation.

Shade alone as a sun protection measure can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by about 75 per cent. Well-designed spaces that provide access to shade are an effective way to protect Victorians from harmful UV over-exposure when spending time outdoors.