Māori not immune to melanoma

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Health Promoter for Cancer Society Gisborne East Coast, Roimata Mangu of Ngāti Porou is on a mission to ensure whānau are being 'SunSmart'.

“The sun’s rays can penetrate through the skin despite it being cloudy, harmful UV rays are still present," says Mangu.

According to Mangu, Māori are not immune to solar radiation and that there's no room for complacency when it comes to melanoma.

 “The sun does not have favourites, harmful UV rays can reach anyone no matter who they are so we need to be careful.”

The uv2day app by NIWA tells users about the level of UV rays being emitted by the sun at any given time.

 “From zero to three, the UV rays aren't okay, but between three and six, be careful you must wear sunscreen and a hat.  At six or higher be very careful you may get burnt.”

Although Māori have lower rates of skin cancer, there's a higher risk of more advanced melanoma, with poorer prognosis.

 “Wear sunscreen, wear t-shirts as well to protect your body, wear a hat...that's big enough to block the sun and wear glasses.”

Mangu will be visiting schools in the region to help them meet SunSmart standards.