Survey finds just four per cent of men wear sunscreen in the winter
OAKVILLE, ON, Jan. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - While many Canadian men are layering
up in flannel shirts and long johns this winter, results from a recent
survey commissioned by the Melanoma Network of Canada show they are
forgetting one important layer of protection: sunscreen. Just four per
cent of men wear sunscreen in the winter, putting them at risk of
developing skin cancer from winter sun exposure.
Ninety per cent of melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are
caused by exposure to UV radiation from light and sunlight.1 Winter conditions create a particularly advantageous environment for
intensifying UV radiation. Snow reflects as much as 80 per cent of UV
radiation, which is much higher than the amount reflected by water or
dry beach sand (10 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively) even in
summer. Melanoma is the second most common cancer in young adults aged
18-342. The incidence of melanoma has more than tripled over the last thirty
years and continues to increase.3
Julia Murray, a Canadian Olympic Ski Cross athlete, is all too familiar
with the consequences of not protecting your skin in the winter. Julia
lost her father Dave Murray - a two-time Olympian and member of the
infamous Crazy Canucks - from an advanced form of skin cancer when she
was very young. As a result, Julia is doing everything she can to help
raise awareness of this cause, including teaming up with the Melanoma
Network of Canada to educate Canadians on the dangers of UV radiation
in winter months.
"My father wasn't aware of the risks of UV radiation in winter," says
Julia. "The winter sun is just as dangerous as summer sun. As a skier
myself, I take precautions against winter sun, and I encourage all
others who are outside enjoying the slopes or other outdoor activities
to do the same this winter."
Survey results show that men are more relaxed in their attitudes and
behaviours towards sun awareness and protection. Men are less likely
than women to:
Accurately identify melanoma as skin cancer (80 per cent vs. 86 per
Wear sunscreen in all situations, regardless of the season; and
Consider environmental effects as factors in changing the intensity of
Furthermore, when men aged 18 to 34 were asked about their greatest
skin-related concern, they ranked moisturizing, preventing pimples and
acne and preventing skin cancer equally. This is particularly
disconcerting as the lifetime risk of melanoma for men is higher than
in women. In fact, men will account for 56 per cent of all new cases of
melanoma this year and 62 per cent of deaths.4
Canadians spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter and may not realize
they are putting themselves at risk by not wearing sunscreen.
"Over exposure to winter sun is dangerous because UV radiation can't be
seen or felt," says Annette Cyr, chair of the Melanoma Network of
Canada. "UV radiation levels are influenced by the sun's elevation,
cloud cover, altitude and reflection - not temperature of the air,
which means that sunscreen is required year-round. If skin is left
unprotected, the risk of melanoma increases."
Exposed skin is at risk of more than frostbite
Melanoma is the most aggressive and deadliest form of skin cancer. An
estimated 5,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and
950 will die from it.5 The survival rate for melanoma is high if it is detected early and,
unlike many cancers, melanoma is clearly visible on the skin.
"Many Canadians are unaware that winter sun is strong enough to put
their skin at risk of damage. In Canada the sun is strong enough to
cause skin cancer," says Dr. Teresa Petrella, medical oncologist and
head of the melanoma group at Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre. "UV
reflection from snow and ice should not be underestimated and Canadians
need to take steps to protect themselves before it's too late."
Winter sun safety tips:
Melanoma Network Canada urges Canadians to protect themselves from UV
radiation by wearing sunscreen in the winter.
Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on all exposed areas, and apply
just before going outside.
Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after excessive sweating.
Protect yourself with clothing, a hat with a brim, and sunglasses
Check your skin monthly to detect malignant melanoma early.
More information on winter sun safety is available at www.melanomanetwork.ca
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.
About the Survey
From December 13, 2011 to December 14, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey on behalf of
the Melanoma Network of Canada. One thousand and three Canadian adults
were surveyed. The margin of error for a sample of this size is 3.1+/-
%, 19 times out of 20. The sample is representative of the national
population and the results have been statistically weighted according
to the most recent age, gender and region census data.
1 Melanoma Network of Canada. "Fact Summary." Available at: http://melanomanetwork.ca/page.php?page=14. Accessed on October 27, 2011.
2 Public Health Agency of Canada. Cancer in Young Adults in Canada.
Available at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cyac-cjac06/pdf/cyac-cjac-2006_e.pdf. Accessed January 10, 2012.
3 Public Health Agency of Canada. Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts and Figures.
Available at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/cancer/melanoma_skin_cancer_figures-cancer_peau_melanome_figures-eng.php
Accessed February 15, 2011.
4 Canadian Cancer Registry Database at Statistics Canada, 2011.
5 Canadian Cancer Registry Database at Statistics Canada. "Estimated New
Cases and Age-Standardized Incidence Rates for Cancers by Sex, Canada,
Video with caption: "Video: Winter rays and melanoma". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120111_C3178_VIDEO_EN_8803.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120111_C3178_PHOTO_EN_8803.jpg&clientName=Melanoma%20Network%20of%20Canada&caption=Video%3A%20Winter%20rays%20and%20melanoma&title=MELANOMA%20NETWORK%20OF%20CANADA%20%20%2D%20Winter%20rays%20and%20melanoma&headline=Men%20three%20times%20less%20likely%20than%20women%20to%20protect%20their%20skin%20in%20the%20winter
Image with caption: "Julia Murray, Canadian Olympic Ski Cross athlete, always applies sunscreen before hitting the hills because she knows the dangers of UV radiation in the winter months. (CNW Group/Melanoma Network of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120111_C3178_PHOTO_EN_8801.jpg
Audio with caption: "Audio: Be aware of melanoma in winter". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/01/11/20120111_C3178_AUDIO_EN_8805.mp3
Audio with caption: "Audio: Winter sun protection". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/01/11/20120111_C3178_AUDIO_EN_8807.mp3
SOURCE Melanoma Network of Canada
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