Young people spend most time in sun with least protection



    National Sun Survey results released today

    TORONTO, July 10 /CNW/ - Young people are spending the most time in the
sun and are least likely to be protected from overexposure to the sun,
according to a national survey funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.
    "These results are disheartening. Skin cancer incidence rates continue to
rise in Canada, including among young adults," says Dr. Loraine Marrett, lead
researcher of the survey and a senior scientist at Cancer Care Ontario.
"Overexposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight and tanning
equipment puts young people at increased risk for skin cancer now, as well as
increasing their risk for cancer in later years."
    Marrett, Director of Surveillance, Cancer Care Ontario, adds that the
thinning of the protective layer of ozone around the earth means it is more
important than ever that all Canadians protect themselves from overexposure to
the sun.

    
    Outdoor exposure

    Among young adults (16-24 years of age):

    -   close to 50 per cent of young men and 32 per cent of young women
        spend at least two hours in the sun on a typical summer day;

    -   42 per cent of young men and 58 per cent of young women protect
        themselves from overexposure to the sun - much lower than in older
        populations.

    Among children (six to 12 years of age):

    -   66 per cent of males and 59 per cent of females spend at least two
        hours in the sun on a typical summer day;

    -   74 per cent of males and 78 per cent of females are protected from
        overexposure to the sun - while reasonably high, this percentage is
        much lower than in younger children (one to five years of age).

    Tanning

    The survey results also show that young adults are the most likely to try
and get a tan - either from the sun or by using tanning equipment.

    -   49 per cent of young women and 28 per cent of young men actively try
        to get a tan from the sun.

    -   27 per cent of young women use tanning equipment, which is higher
        than use among young men or older adults.
    

    The good news from the survey is that sun safety messages are definitely
getting through to some populations. Most Canadian adults 65 and older are
practising very effective sun safety and parents are doing a good job of
protecting children one to five years of age.
    "The survey findings will be extremely valuable in helping to target sun
safety awareness to the groups who need it the most," says Heather Chappell,
Senior Manager, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. "Specifically,
more needs to be done with young adults and older children."
    Both Marrett and Chappell acknowledge that sun exposure in moderation can
have health benefits. For example, it enables people to make vitamin D, which
is essential for good health.
    "We caution Canadians about spending too much unprotected time in the sun
to get vitamin D," says Chappell. "A few minutes a day is usually enough to
get sufficient levels. People over 50 years of age and those with darker skin
may want to consider taking a supplement as well. We encourage people to
discuss this with their healthcare providers."
    Chappell adds that the Canadian Cancer Society will be reviewing the
survey findings in detail and will update, refine or develop sun safety
information for print material and web postings (www.cancer.ca) as
appropriate. Until this is done, she encourages Canadians to protect
themselves from overexposure to the sun particularly between 11 a.m. and
4 p.m. when the sun's rays are at their strongest or anytime of the day the UV
Index(TM) is three or more.

    Rose's story

    As a young woman of 23, cancer was the last thing on Rose Tanyi's mind
when she had a mole checked on her cheek after a year of watching it grow. "I
was shocked to get the diagnosis of melanoma," says Rose. "I thought I'm too
young, how could this happen?" Surgery successfully removed the cancer and she
was on a three-year drug regime afterwards to help prevent a recurrence.
Today, at 36 years of age, she is cancer-free and working as a volunteer
coordinator at a food bank.
    While never a sun worshipper, Rose says that before her diagnosis she
didn't use sun screen or think much about protecting herself from the sun. "Of
course, I think about it a lot more now," she says. "I stay out of the sun
during peak times when I can, wear a hat and use sunscreen."
    Her advice to young people: "I strongly urge young people to watch out
for their health and to be aware of the dangers of too much unprotected time
in the sun. As a young person, you sometimes think that things can't touch
you, but they can."
    Rose is also a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer - offering support to
people with cancer through the Society's CancerConnection program. "I wanted
to help others going through the same thing."
    "Understanding the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians towards sun
safety is vital to developing more effective public health and cancer
prevention programs," says Jessica Hill, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer, an independent organization funded by the federal
government to accelerate action on cancer control. "The broader solution will
involve many partners from health promotion, school boards, clothing
retailers, and even city planning to offer families recreational choices that
provide shade. This survey is an important step in identifying ways to work
collaboratively to manage cancer risk factors."
    "While the incidence of skin cancer has been increasing in Canada, it's
important to remember that most cases of skin cancer are preventable," says
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones. "This year, the
Government of Canada expanded its child and youth-focused Sun Awareness
Program to reach children, caregivers and educators in day-care and preschool
centres. We encourage all Canadians to take the simple but important steps
needed to keep their skin healthy and reduce the risk of developing skin
cancer."

    
    The National Sun Survey was carried out across Canada in 2006. More than
7,000 adults (16 years and older) were surveyed about:

    -   time they spent in the sun, tanning, and sunburns;
    -   how they protect themselves from overexposure to the sun;
    -   their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about tanning, sun
        exposure, and sun protection.
    

    Parents with children aged 1-12 (about 1,400) were also asked to report
about time in the sun, sun protection and sunburns for one of their children.
    The purpose of the survey is to provide health groups and policymakers
with information to assist in developing effective programs to help minimize
people's overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.
    The Canadian Cancer Society is the primary funder of the survey. The
Public Health Agency of Canada a (www.publichealth.gc.ca) provided additional
funding.
    Production of the National Sun Survey was made possible, in part, through
support from the National Skin Cancer Prevention Committee of the Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer, an independent organization funded by the federal
government through Health Canada.
    Information on skin cancer can be found on the Health Canada website,
It's Your Health
(www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/cancer-eng.php ). Educational
resource materials for schools can be acquired through Health Canada's UV
Index Sun Awareness Program at
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/securit/sports/sun-sol/uv-prog/index-eng.php.

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community based organization
whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality
of life of people living with cancer. Last year, the Society funded
$49.5 million in leading-edge research projects across the country. When you
want to know more about cancer, visit our website at www.cancer.ca or call our
toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

    The National Sun Survey Highlights report is available at:
www.cancer.ca/sunsurvey.


    Media Backgrounder (No. 1): National Sun Survey

    Highlights

    
    The National Sun Survey was carried out across Canada in 2006. More than
7,000 adults (16 years and older) were surveyed about:

    -   time they spent in the sun, tanning, and sunburns;
    -   how they protect themselves from overexposure to the sun;
    -   their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about tanning, sun
        exposure, and sun protection.

    Parents with children aged 1-12 (about 1,400) were also asked to report
about time in the sun, sun protection and sunburns for one of their children.

    Sun exposure: adults
    --------------------
    Canadian adults spending at least two hours in the sun.

              --------------------------------------------------------------
              16 to 24 years  25 to 44 years  45 to 64 years    65 + years
              --------------------------------------------------------------
    Male            47 %            33 %            31 %            36 %
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Female          32 %            21 %            17 %            12 %
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sun exposure: children
    ----------------------
    Canadian children who spend at least two hours in the sun on a typical
    summer day.

              -------------------------------
               1 to 5 years    6 to 12 years
              -------------------------------
    Males           30 %            66 %
    -----------------------------------------
    Females         34 %            59 %
    -----------------------------------------

    Sun protection: adults
    ----------------------
    Canadians practising sun protection behaviours.

              --------------------------------------------------------------
              16 to 24 years  25 to 44 years  45 to 64 years    65 + years
              --------------------------------------------------------------
    Males           42 %            60 %            68 %            76 %
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Females         58 %            72 %            83 %            87 %
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sun protection: children
    ------------------------
    Canadian children practicing sun protection behaviours.

              -------------------------------
               1 to 5 years    6 to 12 years
              -------------------------------
    Males           96 %            74 %
    -----------------------------------------
    Females         95 %            79 %
    -----------------------------------------

    Tanning
    -------
    Canadian adults who used tanning equipment in the past 12 months.

              ----------------------------------------------
              16 to 24 years  25 to 44 years  45 to 64 years
              ----------------------------------------------
    Male             8 %(*)          7 %             4 %(*)
    --------------------------------------------------------
    Female          27 %            15 %             8 %
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Canadian adults seeking a tan from the sun in the past year.

              --------------------------------------------------------------
              16 to 24 years  25 to 44 years  45 to 64 years    65 + years
              --------------------------------------------------------------
    Male            28 %            20 %            16 %             9 %(*)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Female          49 %            30 %            18 %             7 %(*)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sunburns
    --------
    Canadian adults who got at least one sunburn during the summer.

              --------------------------------------------------------------
              16 to 24 years  25 to 44 years  45 to 64 years    65 + years
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Male            29 %            27 %            15 %             9 %(*)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Female          29 %            21 %            10 %             4 %(*)
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Canadian children who got at least one sunburn during the summer.

              -------------------------------
               1 to 5 years    6 to 12 years
              -------------------------------
    Males           9 %(*)          19 %
    -----------------------------------------
    Females        11 %(*)          21 %
    -----------------------------------------

    Outdoor workers
    ---------------
    Time spent in the sun for outdoor workers during work time, by sex, ages
    16-64

              --------------------------------------------------------------
               Less than 60      1-2 hours       2-4 hours        4+ hours
                  minutes
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Males          11 %             16 %            26 %             46%
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Females        24 %             27 %            25 %             24%
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (*) This percentage is based on a small number of people and, as a
        result, must be interpreted with caution.
    

    The purpose of the national sun survey is to provide health groups and
policymakers with information to assist in developing effective programs to
help minimize people's overexposure to ultraviolet radiation.
    The Canadian Cancer Society is the primary funder of the survey. The
Public Health Agency of Canada provided additional funding.
    Production of the National Sun Survey was made possible, in part, through
support from the National Skin Cancer Prevention Committee of the Canadian
Partnership Against Cancer, an independent organization funded by the federal
government through Health Canada.

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community based organization
whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality
of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer,
visit our website at www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer
Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.


    Media Backgrounder (No. 2): National Sun Survey

    Canadian Cancer Society's SunSense guidelines

    Nobody wants to stay indoors when the sun is shining, but it's important
to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun.
    The Canadian Cancer Society SunSense guidelines are:

    
    -   Try to stay out of the direct sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the
        sun's rays are at their strongest, and any time of the day when the
        UV index is three or more. If you can, plan your outdoor activities
        before 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

    -   Babies need extra protection because their skin is very sensitive.
        It's best to keep babies out of direct sunlight. Use clothing that
        covers their arms and legs, add a hat and apply a little sunscreen.
        Put the stroller, playpen or carriage in the shade.

    Cover up with clothing

    -   Choose clothing that is:

           -  loose fitting - like a T-shirt
           -  tightly woven
           -  lightweight

    -   Wear a hat with a wide brim that covers your head, face, ears and
        neck. Most skin cancers happen on the face and neck.

    -   Wear sunglasses: Sunglasses can help prevent damage to eyes by
        blocking a large amount of UV rays.

    Sunscreen

    -   Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
        Use SPF 30 if you work outdoors, or if you are going to be outside
        most of the day.

    -   Look for broad spectrum on the label. This means that the sunscreen
        offers protection against both UVA and and UVB ultraviolet rays.

    -   Apply sunscreen generously, at least 20 minutes before going
        outdoors.

    Avoid indoor tanning

    -   Just like the sun, tanning beds and sun lamps release UV rays that
        can cause sunburn, damage skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.
    

    Vitamin D

    Moderate sun exposure can have health benefits. For example, it enables
people to make vitamin D, which is essential for good health.
    The Society cautions Canadians about spending too much unprotected time
in the sun to get vitamin D. A few minutes a day is usually enough to get
sufficient levels. People over 50 years of age and those with darker skin may
want to consider taking a supplement as well. They should discuss this with
their healthcare providers.
    Last year, the Society recommended that adults living in Canada should
consider taking Vitamin D supplementation of 1,000 international units (IU) a
day during the fall and winter. The recommendation is based on the growing
body of evidence about the link between vitamin D and reducing risk for
colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community based organization
whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality
of life of people living with cancer. Last year, the Society funded
$49.5 million in leading-edge research projects across the country. When you
want to know more about cancer, visit our website at www.cancer.ca or call our
toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.


    Media Backgrounder (No. 3): National Sun Survey

    Skin cancer facts

    
    General
    -------
    -   There are two categories of skin cancer:

        1)  non-melanoma skin cancer, which includes basal cell cancer and
            squamous cell cancer, is most common, and
        2)  melanoma, which is less common but more likely to be fatal.

    -   Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada. In 2008:

        Non-melanoma:

        -  An estimated 73,000 Canadians will be diagnosed;
        -  An estimated 260 will die.

        Melanoma

        -  An estimated 4,600 Canadians will be diagnosed;
        -  An estimated 910 will die.

    -   Among Canadians:

        -  melanoma incidence rates continue to increase in both men and
           women (by 1.8% and 1% per year, respectively)
        -  non-melanoma skin cancer incidence rates are also increasing in
           British Columbia, Manitoba and New Brunswick. National data are
           not available.

    -   Overexposure to radiation from the sun or from artificial UV light
        (such as tanning beds or sun lamps) - is the major cause of skin
        cancer in Canada.

    -   Most skin cancers can be treated successfully if they are detected
        and treated early.
    

    Young adults
    ------------
    In Ontario, melanoma is the second most common cancer in young adults
(ages 15 to 34).
    Research done in Manitoba shows increasing incidence of basal cell cancer
in that province in people under 40 years of age, as well as in those of all
ages.

    
    Children
    --------

    -   Children and teenagers get more sun exposure than older adults, and
        people who had severe sunburn before age 18 are at higher risk of
        skin cancer.

    -   Melanoma in children is rare. However, exposure in childhood is an
        important determinant of later melanoma risk.
    

    Risk factors
    ------------
    While overexposure to radiation from the sun or from artificial UV light
(tanning beds) is the primary cause of skin cancer, additional factors
increase the risk of developing it:

    
    -   light skin, eyes or hair (particularly red hair)

    -   skin that burns or freckles easily, and tans poorly

    -   personal history of skin cancer - a person who has had skin cancer
        before has an increased chance of getting it again

    -   A strong family history of skin cancer (two or more close blood
        relatives diagnosed with the disease)

    -   Having many moles increases the chance of developing melanoma
    

    People who work, play or exercise in the sun for long periods of time are
at greater risk.
    Some people develop skin cancer without any of these risk factors.

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community based organization
whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality
of life of people living with cancer. Last year, the Society funded
$49.5 million in leading-edge research projects across the country. When you
want to know more about cancer, visit our website at www.cancer.ca or call our
toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.





For further information:

For further information: Kerstin Ring, Senior Manager, Communications,
(416) 934-5664; French media: Alexa Giorgi, Bilingual Communications
Specialist, (416) 934-5681


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