Approaches in both the primary prevention and early detection areas to control the incidence and mortality of skin cancer have been examined in terms of a model for skin cancer control. Population-based approaches are thought to be appropriate in public health terms because it is possible for individuals to reduce their exposure to sunburn (and subsequently, their risk of skin cancer), by individual sun protection behavioural change. A number of preventative intervention studies have identified specific methods for achieving such change. The success of Australian efforts in changing behaviours and reducing sunburn is also described, along with the need to equip doctors and patients with the knowledge and skills required for the early detection of skin cancer. Approaches that promote screening with acceptable sensitivity along with reasonable specificity are important when considering the costs and effectiveness of population-based programmes.