Melanoma Network of Canada calls on next government of Ontario to protect youth from skin cancer by banning indoor tanning for youth under 18

OAKVILLE, ON, Sept. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - The Melanoma Network of Canada is calling on provincial politicians to take the lead and implement legislation that would regulate the use of tanning beds and ban individuals under the age of 18 from using them.

"Melanoma is the second most common cancer in young adults aged 15 to 34 and more needs to be done here in Ontario to address this," said Annette Cyr, Chair of the Melanoma Network of Canada. "The increasing prevalence of skin cancer amongst Ontario's youth is alarming and over the last 30 years, the incidence rate of melanoma has more than tripled. Greater measures are urgently needed to ensure that this rate does not continue to escalate."

Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the world. When it is not detected early, it is often fatal and because of this, the number of deaths attributed to melanoma is increasing in Ontario each year. Studies commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) have shown that people who use tanning beds before the age of 30 increase their risk of contracting melanoma by 75 per cent. In addition to this, the WHO recently upgraded the classification of indoor tanning beds to a "known carcinogen," confirming that indoor tanning equipment causes skin cancer.

Earlier this year in May, the Melanoma Network of Canada hosted a melanoma awareness day at Queen's Park where members of the Melanoma Network met with supportive MPPs from both governing and opposition parties. During this year's Ontario election campaign, the Melanoma Network is asking candidates for their commitment to support legislation in the next parliamentary session that will ban the use of tanning beds by people under the age of 18.

In 2010, a private member's bill, The Skin Cancer Prevention Act, was introduced in the Legislative Assembly.  If it had been passed, the bill would have prohibited the marketing and selling of tanning services to anyone under 18. The bill did not pass.

Other jurisdictions in Canada have already implemented regulations when it comes to indoor tanning. The provincial governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have introduced similar legislation that places an age limit on the use of tanning beds, and the city of Victoria recently introduced a bylaw preventing youth from using indoor tanning equipment.

The Melanoma Network of Canada is encouraging Ontario's politicians to consider the statistics and do the same here in Ontario. "Ninety per cent of melanoma cases are a direct result of exposure to UV light, and the most common sources of UV light are sunshine and tanning beds" said Cyr. "When you think about how many cases of melanoma could be prevented by restricting youth access to tanning beds, this type of legislation only makes sense. We have already taken action on smoking and begun to address the causes of diabetes and obesity. Addressing the causes of melanoma is the next step."

About Melanoma
Melanoma is a rare but deadly form of skin cancer and is one of the fastest growing cancers in Canada. An estimated 5,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 960 will die from it. The survival rate for melanoma is high if it is detected early and unlike many cancers, melanoma is clearly visible on the skin.

About the Melanoma Network Canada (MNC)
Melanoma Network Canada (MNC) is a patient-led organization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of melanoma. Established in 2009 by a small group of patients and caregivers, the MNC works in collaboration with medical professionals, health care agencies and other stakeholders to educate, advocate and fund for early diagnosis and effective treatment of melanoma, education, prevention and awareness programs, relevant and innovative research, support for patients and an improved quality of life for those living with melanoma.

SOURCE Melanoma Network of Canada

For further information:

Annette Cyr
Melanoma Network of Canada
T. 289-242-2010
acyr@melanomanetwork.ca


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