Australians are readying themselves to brace for the long, hot summer. Unfortunately, a test by consumer advocacy group Choice has revealed that four out of five leading sunscreen brands failed to live up to their SPF 50+ promises. The test results come as an alarm as Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and the summer heat is going to make it worse for the Aussies.

The Australian reports that about 2,000 Australians die of skin cancer every year. Sadly, two out of three will be diagnosed with this dreaded disease in their lifetime including various types of skin cancer such as squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. According to a Cancer Institute NSW study, the lifetime cost of melanoma is a whopping $536 million, with an average cost of $44,796 out of 150,000 skin cancer cases in 2010.

The sunscreen test by Choice revealed Ego Sunsense Sport 50+ as the worst performer because it only provides a meager protection of up to SPF 29. Both Banana Boat Sport tube and Banana Boat Baby finger spray's tests revealed an SPF of 42 despite their SPF 50+ claims. Ombra (Aldi) Kids SPF50+ also failed the test, getting only a tested SPF 36. However, Nivea Sun Kids SPF50+ roll on and Cancer Council Classic 50+ did pass the test with a UV protection of SPF 50+, as promised on their labels.

Experts say that it is not only the beach that exposes people to the risks associated with skin cancer. Even everyday activities and weekend activities such as taking a stroll in the park, gardening and chores done outside can trigger the disease. These outdoor activities are responsible for 50 percent of sunburn on summer weekends, which is definitely higher than the rate of adult sunburns at the beach, according to the Cancer Council Queensland.

“Whether accidental or intentional, exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin damage and cancer,” Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said.

Australasian College of Dermatologists president Chris Baker also said in a report from The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) that UV damage is cumulative, that's why when you had a lot of fun in the sun as a kid, it will all add up, despite avoiding the harsh rays later in life.

"If there are times you are getting this unintended sun, you can at least take protective measures. It's never too late," Baker added in the SMH report.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration will look into the matter closely and will reportedly launch an investigation to pull off sunscreen products from the shelves if the manufacturers cannot prove that they live up to the brand promises, reports

The Choice sunscreen SPF results flooded Twitter with people expressing their alarm over the approaching long summer.

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