Every year in New Zealand, skin cancer costs the health system $57 million. But only $600,000 was spent on prevention last year - most of which was spent on the slip, slop, slap and wrap campaign.
But we fund the prevention of diabetes, HIV, high blood pressure, asthma - even pregnancy.
And a doctor in New Zealand can even prescribe a funded treatment for melanoma but not standard sunscreen.
So why does skin cancer, by far the most common cancer in New Zealand, not have the same prevention health model?
Mother, and sunscreen activist Kylie Findlay put forward a petition to make sunscreen government funded for children. She’s also asking for sunscreen to have compulsory SPF and reef safe regulations.
“This ambulance at the bottom of the cliff scenario with skin cancer is very frustrating. And having worked in the medical industry for a number of years, I really can't think of many other disease states that we treat so reactively,” says Kylie.
In Miami, you can sunscreen yourself for free thanks to a sunscreen manufacturer and a Medical Center providing free sunscreen dispensers across the city. Boston and New York have tried this too.
With the highest rates of melanoma in the world, should sunscreen in New Zealand be government funded? ☀️?
This story is part of Re:’s Oceans Week, where we talk rāhui, diving, sunblock and more. See the rest of our Oceans Week stories here.