Skin Cancer is Preventable!
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. It is also one of the most preventable.
- One in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer, 80-90% of which are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
- Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of which are melanoma, the mostly deadly form of skin cancer.
- Canadians born in the 1990s have two to three times higher lifetime risk of getting skin cancer (1 in 6) than those born in the 1960s (1 in 20).
- There are more new cases of skin cancer each year than the number of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers COMBINED!
Skin cancer is caused by overexposure of the skin to UV radiation. The most common sources of UV radiation on the skin are the sun and artificial tanning beds. Though skin cancer is preventable and most often treatable, it remains the most common form of cancer. (Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation)
Preventing Skin Cancer
Whether you are outside to enjoy nature, or for work or play, using a little Sun Sense can protect you from the sun's harmful rays. To learn how to be safe in the Sun, follow the Canadian Cancer Society Sun Sense tips.
Sun Sense Program for Schools
Outdoor play and physical activity are essential to children's health and development. This guide will help you to develop a policy for your school and implement procedures to make sun safety part of the school routine.
Talking to Teens about Tanning and Sun Protection
Sporting a tan may be viewed by many teens as more attractive. It may signify that you're healthy, spend time outdoors, are athletic or have an active social life. But this look exposes them to dangerous UV rays and the increased risk of skin cancer.
- Inform your teen on proper sun protection. Emphasize the importance of sunscreen and protective clothing.
- Be a role model. Make sure you are setting an example of healthy outdoor behaviour by seeking shade, and by wearing sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat for instance.
- Start the talk early. Include tanning in conversations about body image and healthy active bodies.
- Tell them the facts. Melanoma is increasing among young people especially females 15 to 29 years old.
- If your teen is insistent on the tanned look then a self-tanning product is a less hazardous alternative. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of these products to help your teen decide.
Indoor Tanning Causes Cancer
Indoors or outdoors, there's no safe way to get a tan. Tanning beds and sun lamps release UV rays that start the tanning process in the skin – just like the sun. Tanned skin is damaged skin. And when the tan fades, the damage is still there.
Ontario has banned the use of tanning beds by youth under the age of 18. This act came into place May 1, 2014.
Screen and Early Detection
Resources and Links