Over 2000 hours of sunshine and high UV index ratings put Albertans at increased risk of skin cancer

National Sun Awareness Week: June 3 - 9, 2013

EDMONTON, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) wants to make sure sun protection is front of mind this summer by encouraging Canadians to make sun safety and regular skin exams should be part of the everyday routine.

"As Canadians, we long for warm sunny days where we can get outside and enjoy our cities but we've got to be smart about it," says Dr. Mariusz Sapijaszko, Regional Director of the CDA's Sun Awareness Program. "Four of the 12 sunniest cities in Canada are in Alberta so I encourage my patients to wear sunscreen 365 days a year."

This summer Environment Canada is predicting midday UV index ratings ranging from moderate (3-5) to very high (8-9) across Canada, so proper sun protection is an absolute must. This includes wearing hats, sunglasses, light-weight tightly-woven clothing to cover exposed skin, seeking shade, and applying (and re-applying) board-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Whenever the UV Index is higher than three it is especially important to take extra precautions, like limiting our time outside during peak hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Estimates for 2013 indicate there will be approximately 81,700 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed and 6,000 cases of melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer - which will result in approximately 1,050 deaths. Skin cancer is the most widely diagnosed form of cancer in Canada and worldwide. It is also the only form of cancer that is clearly visible on the skin and one of a small number that is highly preventable.

What does this mean for Alberta? It means an estimated 550 new cases of melanoma being diagnosed in 2013 and 90 preventable deaths; figures which amount to 10 Albertans being diagnosed with melanoma every week!

"It's important Canadians learn what changes to look for and perform their own skin checks regularly because the early detection of skin cancer does save lives," says Sapijaszko. "In fact, research shows 53% of melanoma skin cancers are discovered by the patients themselves and a further 17% by their family members."

The CDA urges all Canadians to make regular at-home skin cancer self-examinations part of their routine and have created a guide, Know the Signs, Save a Life, to help Canadians do just that.

The best thing about skin cancer: it's easily preventable.

Background - Top 12 Sunniest Cities in Canada (Source: Environment Canada)

City Rank Hrs of sunshine   City Rank Hrs of sunshine
Medicine Hat, AB 1 2512.85   Brandon, MB 7 2344.37
Estevan, SK 2 2434.75   Regina, SK 8 2338.44
Swift Current, SK 3 2406.93   Yorkton, SK 9 2330.17
Calgary, AB 4 2405.34   Saskatoon, SK 10 2328.45
Moose Jaw, SK 5 2376.13   Lethbridge, AB 11 2300.58
Winnipeg, MB 6 2371.81   Edmonton, AB 12 2299.09

About Sun Awareness Week
The Canadian Dermatology Association has organized a nationwide Sun Awareness Week since 1989. The purpose of the annual campaign is to increase the awareness of Canadians about the harmful effects of UV radiation and the ways to protect the skin from UV exposure, in order to decrease the incidence of skin cancer in Canada. During National Sun Awareness Week, June 3 - 9, 2013, dermatologists will volunteer at free public skin cancer screenings and other community events. For more information, please visit www.dermatology.ca.

About CDA
The Canadian Dermatology Association, founded in 1925, represents Canadian dermatologists. The association strives to provide easy access to the largest, most reliable source of medical knowledge on dermatology. CDA exists to advance the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the care of the skin, hair and nails; provide continuing professional development for its members; support and advance patient care; provide public education on sun protection and other aspects of skin health; and promote a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. By doing so, CDA informs and empowers both medical professionals and the Canadian public. To learn more about what the work CDA does visit www.dermatology.ca or join the conversation on www.Twitter.com/CdnDermatology or www.Facebook.com/CdnDermatology.

SOURCE: Canadian Dermatology Association

For further information:

Jennifer Scott, Director, Communications
Cell: 613-447-8611 | jscott@dermatology.ca 

Laura Craig, Communications Coordinator
Cell: 613-716-2098  | lcraig@dermatology.ca

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