Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC), Victoria

Implementing sun protective policies and actions in Victorian secondary schools study

Sun exposure during childhood and adolescence is a strong predictor of lifetime skin cancer risk, including for melanoma, which is a leading cancer among adolescents. SunSmart has been working with schools to support their sun protection practices since 1989. Over 90% of Victorian primary schools have joined the SunSmart member program, under which schools that meet a minimum set of standards (including a written policy) are recognised as SunSmart schools. The SunSmart team has been actively engaging with Victorian secondary schools for the last five years to ensure that the policies and practices established in primary school carry over to the secondary years. There is currently little published literature to inform best practice in skin cancer prevention in the secondary school setting. The SunSmart team is conducting a mixed methods study on sun protective policies and actions in Victorian secondary schools, which will inform the future support that SunSmart offers to secondary schools. One of the aims is to better understand what actions secondary schools are currently taking to help students and staff to achieve a healthy UV balance. To answer this question, 250 schools were randomly selected to participate in a short online survey. The team also aims to explore barriers, opportunities and successes in sun protection in this setting, using a series of focus groups and interviews with staff members. Analysis of these results is underway.

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