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Skin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand and one that is largely preventable. This theme recognises the importance of interventions to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in NZ , with a focus on reducing inequities experienced by those of low socioeconomic status.


Key researchers

  • Bronwen McNoe (Social and Behavioural Research Unit, University of Otago, Dunedin)
  • Ryan Gage (HEPPRU; Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington)
  • William Leung (Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington)

Completed projects

Shade in the New Zealand context

The aim of this project was to inform ways to improve shade provision in NZ, particularly with territorial authorities. Specifically we:

  • Conducted a comprehensive scientific literature review of both the scientific and lay literature on 'shade', and identified and assessed currently available shade resources internationally.
  • Conducted a web-based audit of the 67 Territorial Authorities on the availability and comprehensiveness of sun protection policies.
  • Conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews on the views and experiences of Cancer Society health promotion staff of engaging with territorial authorities for the consideration and implementation of shade in public shade.


Only 5 of the 67 territorial authorities in New Zealand have a sun protection policy available on their website.


McNoe, B.M. (2021) Prevention is better than a cure: We can do better in skin cancer control in New Zealand! October 22. New Zealand Medical Journal [online].

Health considerations in New Zealand National Sporting Organisations (NSO) policies

Including health considerations in National Sporting Organisations' policies can have a positive impact on reducing harmful UVR exposure and other health risk behaviours among sport participants, officials, and spectators. This project assessed the use of SunSmart and other health related policy documents within NSOs.


Will be updated soon.


Publication pending.

Policy research to support advocacy on skin cancer prevention

This project aimed to learn from skin cancer prevention interventions implemented in Australia as a way to inform the promotion of skin cancer prevention in New Zealand. Interviews with Australian skin cancer prevention experts provided information about barriers faced and how they were overcome, success factors, and advice for progressing skin cancer prevention in New Zealand.


Will be updated soon.


Gage, R. Leung, W. Gurtner, M. Reeder, A.I., McNoe, B. M., Signal, L. (2021) Generating political priority for skin cancer primary prevention: A case study from Aotearoa New Zealand. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. Doi: 10.1002/hpja.545

Further publication pending.

Current and upcoming projects

The cost of keratinocytic skin cancer to New Zealand

Although less life-threatening than melanoma, the diagnosis and treatment of keratinocyte carcinomas represents a significant cost to the health system and society. This study will use recent NZ estimates of keratinocyte-carcinoma incidence and more comprehensive NZ data sources to determine updated costs of non-melanoma skin cancer in New Zealand.

The potential of skin cancer prevention to improve health and reduce healthcare costs

This study will estimate the impact of a number of promising skin cancer prevention interventions on skin cancer incidence, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), health system costs and other societal costs by age, gender and ethnicity.

Delivery agents for the CSNZ Sunsmart Schools programme – awareness and perceived ability to teach sun safety

This project will investigate primary school teachers current sun protection and sun exposure behaviour, awareness of the dangers related to UV exposure and perceived ability to teach the SSAP to primary school children. We will also assess the implementation of the schools sun protection policies within their particular school.

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