Prevention and early detection are the best defence against skin cancer, which is very treatable if caught early, and the risk factors are well-known.
Did you know that more than 80,000 Canadians are diagnosed with skin cancer every year? Over 8,000 of those are melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
There’s a myth about skin cancer that it’s not that serious, but it can be deadly — about 1,300 Canadians die from melanoma each year.
Canadians born in the 1990s (i.e. 20 to 30 year olds) have 2-3 times higher risk of getting skin cancer in their lifetimes (1 in 6 people) than those born in the 1960s (i.e. aged 60 and up).
No tan is a safe tan
Exposure to UV radiation, such as natural sunlight or tanning beds, is the leading cause of skin cancer.
Tanning beds are especially dangerous because of their popularity among young women. Melanoma is the second most common cancer for women aged 20–29, and early exposure to tanning beds can significantly increase chances of developing melanoma.
Prevention is key
Prevention and early detection are the best defense against skin cancer, according to Save Your Skin Foundation, a national patient-led not-for-profit organization dedicated to the fight against all skin cancers.
The good news is that skin cancer is very treatable if caught early, and the risk factors are well-known.
Save Your Skin recommends these precautions to dramatically reduce the risk of developing skin cancer:
- Always use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on gray days
- Wear protective clothing with long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses
- Limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Do not use tanning beds
- Check your skin monthly for any abnormalities — make sure you inspect your shoulders, neck, ears, head, and under your nails. If you detect any changes or moles that are asymmetrical, have uneven colours, or are larger than 6 mm, see your doctor as soon as possible.