Rural Alliance News


The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) in partnership with Melanoma NZ continue to work together to raise awareness about the importance of regularly self-checking your own skin for different looking moles or freckles. Early detection can increase your chance of successful treatment.

Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer affecting New Zealanders. New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) in the world. Each year over 2200 New Zealanders are diagnosed with melanoma and over 300 die from it. Although most melanomas occur in people over 50 years of age, it can occur at any age. Rural people can be at increased risk of skin cancer because of the time they spend outdoors.

HPA and Melanoma NZ have three key messages for the rural sector to help reduce your risk of skin cancer. These are:

Be alert to an ‘ugly duckling’ spot, freckle or mole on your skin. If it looks different get a full body skin check by your GP

Be SunSmart when UV levels are 3 or higher

Know the daily UV level in your area using the:
- free sun protection alert
- free uv2Day smartphone app
- free NIWA UV forecasts
Use the five SunSmart steps when UV levels are 3 or higher:
1/ Slip on a shirt/top with long sleeves and a collar and Slip into the shade
2/ Slop on sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, broad spectrum and water resistant. Apply 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours
3/ Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, head, neck and ears
4/ Wrap on close fitting sunglasses.