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.


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.