E-poster Presentation 2014 World Cancer Congress

Using mass media and online strategies to increase understanding of the UV Index (#813)

Terry Slevin 1 , Carolyn Minto 1 , Mark Strickland 1 , Geoffrey Jalleh 2
  1. Cancer Council Western Australia, Shenton Park, WA, Australia
  2. Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control (CBRCC), Curtin University, Shenton Park, WA, Australia

Background and Context:

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer. The UV Index is a limitless scale developed by the World Health Organization to quantify the levels of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Public education campaigns about the UV Index have been widely recommended, yet not undertaken until recently. In 2012, Cancer Council Western Australia developed the first mass media campaign to specifically educate about the UV Index.


To develop and launch a mass media campaign that aims to increase the extent to which Western Australians aged between 18 – 45 years understand and use the UV Index to reduce harmful UV exposure.


This campaign marks a pivotal shift from previous SunSmart messaging by providing the public with the simple rationale for the SunSmart message and the ability to understand and plan their UV exposure. A key campaign message is ‘Be SunSmart when UV is 3 or above’.

Programme/Policy Process:

Focus groups and ad testing informed the development of a campaign comprising predominantly of an animated television commercial and website, supported by other media.

The television commercial was designed to drive traffic to the website, which provides more detailed education explaining the rationale for using the UV Index and localised UV forecasts.

Outcomes/What was learned:

The first year’s evaluation revealed modest but encouraging results, including:

·         High awareness of any campaign strategies

·         Increase in the proportion of people who correctly identified 3 as the level from which sun protection is required (of those who were aware of the campaign)

·         Increase in intention to check the UV forecast

Initial results suggest that the UV Index is a concept that can be easily grasped by many. Evaluation of the campaign’s second year is currently underway and key findings will be presented at the conference.