By CHRISTIAN STANGER
TWEED residents are more likely to suffer melanomas from too much sun than people in other parts of the state, a new study has found.
The study of the incidence of new melanomas for NSW residents showed that while the rest of the state recorded decreases in new cases in the last five years, the North Coast region registered a startling increase of 50 per cent.
Assistant Health Minister Frank Sartor said people need to be remember to "slip slop slap" over the summer months because, with 415 new melanoma cases recorded in 2003, it is likely Tweed holidaymakers and locals have been slacking off in the sun protection department.
"Just 10 minutes in the sun can result in damaging UV exposure," he said.
Deanna Hall of the Hunter Valley made the mistake of forgetting the sunscreen on Christmas Day and has since learned to regret it, still sporting a bright red reminder on Tuesday when she was covered by a wetsuit while swimming in the boat harbour at Fingal Head.
A few yards down the beach Kaitlyn Armitage, a Chinderah girl, spent her day soaking up the rays with her mother Bev, but had taken precautions with sunscreen avoiding the sun's rays but still trying to get a tan.
"It's pretty important for me because I've got some moles and things like that and they have to be covered," Kaitlyn said.
Tweed Heads woman Sonia Slight, although protected by a wide-brimmed hat, applied sunscreen throughout the day. But you could expect that from a Family Day Carer.
"At work we're very aware of the children being sun-safe and they have to wear hats and sunscreen," Sonia said. "It's extremely important and I don't think it's publicised enough. They could probably do more.