Golf participants in Australia have a higher lifetime prevalence of skin cancer compared with the general population

Brad Stenner, Terry Boyle, Daryll Archibald, Nigel Arden, Roger Hawkes, Stephanie Filbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To estimate the age-specific lifetime prevalence of skin cancer in a sample of Australian golf participants and estimate skin cancer risk in golf participants compared with a general population-based sample. Methods Golf participants in Australia (n=336) completed the Australian Golf Health Survey which collected data on skin cancer diagnosis (self-reported history), physical activity levels and participant demographics. Data were compared with a sample of the Australian general population (n=15780, Australian Health Survey). Age-specific lifetime prevalence of skin cancer in golf and general population-based samples was determined, and modified Poisson regression (adjusted for age, sex, education and smoking status) was used to estimate the association between playing golf and the risk of a current or past skin cancer diagnosis. Results One in four golf participants (n=91; 27%) had received a skin cancer diagnosis compared with 7% (n=1173) of the general population. Golf participants were 2.42 (2.01 to 2.91) (relative risk (95% CI)) times more likely to report a skin cancer diagnosis than the general population after adjusting for age, sex, education and smoking status. Conclusion Playing golf in Australia is associated with a higher age-specific lifetime prevalence of skin cancer compared with the general population. Golf organisations, clubs and facilities should inform golf participants about the risk of skin cancer and promote preventive strategies including use of high-Sun Protection Factor (SPF) sunscreen, appropriate hats and clothing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001597
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 31 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • golf
  • risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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