Quebeckers Topping the List for Skin Cancer in Canada

MONTREAL, Sept. 19, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - "Prevention and an early diagnostic are essential to the fight against skin cancer," asserts Dr Joël Claveau, dermatologist for the Clinique du mélanome et des cancers cutanés, the CHUQ and the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Quebec city, and speaker at the Symposium d'information pour les personnes touchées par le cancer de la peau (trans. educational symposium for skin cancer patients) organized by the Save Your Skin foundation and which will be taking place at the health centre L'espoir, c'est la vie/Chez Lou, partners for the event.

Bringing together authorities on skin cancer and research in cancer environment as well as a number of skin cancer patients, this symposium will bear on new research avenues, the shift towards personalized medicine, improvements in treatment management, the habits of Quebeckers and ways to get the message across so as to bring about change.

"It is imperative that Quebeckers understand that their behaviour and lifestyles ought to change and that measures have to be taken in order to lower the incidence of skin cancer." says Félix-Antoine Léveillé, regional director for the Save Your Skin foundation in Quebec. "Good habits are easier to take up when we're young. For instance, why not consider implementing in-school prevention programmes in Quebec as early as sixth grade? Inciting youths to save their skin would allow us to avoid the great majority of cancers."

Quebec accounts for nearly 40% of diagnosed skin cancers in Canada

According to data garnered by Statistics Canada in 2014 on cancer, skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the country : in 2014, about 6,500 cases of melanoma, and some 76,100 other types skin cancers will be diagnosed. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, as around 1,050 Canadians are expected to succumb to it this year.

In Quebec, about 930 cases of melanoma (6,500 in Canada) and around 30,000 other types of skin cancers (76,100 countrywide) should be diagnosed this year alone. These figures mean that approximately 40% of skin cancers diagnosed in Canada are detected in our province—although its population accounts for a mere 23% of that of the country.

Skin cancer cases shouldn't be so prevalent in Quebec, hence the importance of focusing on raising awareness, informing and mobilizing Quebeckers to help prevent this type of cancer.

Yet, skin cancer is among the most easily preventable forms of cancer, the main aggravating factor being over-exposition to the sun's UV rays, or to those of tanning beds.

Climate change and UVB rays: the main culprits

Based on data from the World Health Organization, the increase in skin cancers we are witnessing can in part be ascribed to climate change and anthropogenic heat islands in urban areas. Since temperatures are generally higher, we tend to spend more time outdoors, and are thus more often exposed to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, namely UVB rays. A large part of these rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, water vapour, oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2), and only 5% of them actually reach the Earth. Yet, they are the ones that redden our skin and give us sunburns, and may in fact be partly responsible for the increase in health issues we're observing right now, namely the yearly 4% to 6% increment in the incidence of skin cancers.

"Quebeckers often knowingly expose themselves to the sun's UV rays unprotected and spend too much time in tanning salons, heedless of the consequences on their health," says Dr Claveau.

About the Save Your Skin foundation

Created in Canada in 2006, the Save Your Skin foundation has been present in Quebec since January of 2014. It is an active member of Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec, as well as of the Patient Alliance for Health. The Foundation focuses its efforts on fundraising geared towards education and mobilization, on ensuring financial and emotional support to those who struggle against skin cancer, and on funding research on the various forms of skin cancer.

For more information, visit the website: http://saveyourskin.ca

 

SOURCE: Save Your Skin Foundation

For further information: Félix-Antoine Léveillé, Regional director for Quebec, 514 887-0986, fleveille@saveyourskin.ca


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