iPhone App Aims To Fight Skin Cancer

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world (more than 1,850 people die of skin cancer each year). A new iPhone application from SunSmart is hoping to help reduce this figure by showing people when it's time to cover up and avoid the sun's ultraviolet rays.

The free app provides a daily weather forecast complete with the maximum UV levels and an alert function that uses the GPS sensor in your phone to adjust to your location. By offering an automated UV warning and up-to-the-minute UV level information, the app can let you know when it's time to seek protection from the sun's rays.

"What we're finding is that a lot of people are using temperatures and weather to predict when they need sun protection, but it's really the ultraviolet (UV) that's a problem -- and you can't see that or feel it," said Sue Heward, SunSmart Manger at Cancer Council. "The nice thing about the app is that it's in your pocket, you don't have to go to your computer or open up a paper to check," Heward continued.


SunSmart launches first ever iPhone application

Thursday 25 November, 2010

The first ever SunSmart iPhone application was launched today making it easier than ever for Australians to be SunSmart this summer.

SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward said "We have developed the app to provide people right across Australia with free, easy-to-access information about ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels, making it easier than ever for everyone to build sun protection into their daily routines. Whilst lots of people love the outdoors the UV levels are likely to reach extreme levels over the next few months, so people need to know when to use sun protection."

Australian Cricket's Twenty-20 captain and Test vice captain, Michael Clarke, has had three skin cancers removed from his face and said he looked forward to using the new SunSmart app.

"It's a great way to know when I need to protect myself. Within a few seconds, I can find out the weather, temperature, UV level and most importantly the times of the day when I need to use sun protection. So, before I head out for training, I can make sure I am prepared for the day ahead," he said.

The free SunSmart app includes features such as:

  • Forecasted UV level from the Bureau of Meteorology for your current location anywhere in Australia.
  • Adjustable reminder function alerting the user to their daily sun protection needs and when it's safe to get some sun for vitamin D.
  • Information for users about UV exposure risks and protective measures. This takes the guesswork out when protecting yourself and your family from dangerous UV radiation whether at home or on holidays.

Overexposure to UV is the main cause of skin and eye damage and skin cancer. On a January day without sun protection it can take as little as 11 minutes for the signs of sunburn to appear. Even when it's overcast, often the UV level is still extreme which can result in accidental sunburn, tanning, skin and eye damage and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is Australia's most prevalent cancer but, ironically, it is also one of the most preventable. By checking the UV level each day before heading out and noting the times of the day that sun protection is required, people can take the necessary steps to make sure they play safe in the sun this summer.

The SunSmart app is now available to download for free from the iTunes App Store.