Canadian Dermatology Association - Survey shows Canadians well aware of melanoma skin cancer - but half don't check their skin often enough. National Sun Awareness Week June 8 to 14, 2009

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - Canadians are well aware of melanoma, the most
serious form of skin cancer, but 1 in 2 people don't check their skin often
enough, according to a new survey conducted by Angus Reid Strategies for the
Canadian Dermatology Association.
    Melanoma, unlike many cancers, is clearly visible on the skin. Early
detection is directly linked to a very high survival rate - 90% for Canadians.
    However, 940 Canadians - 3 people a week - will die from melanoma this
year, and 5,000 will be diagnosed with it. Melanoma is now the 8th most common
cancer found in Canadians. It is one of a small number of cancers that
continues to increase in incidence.
    The first ever "Melanoma Awareness and Attitudes Survey of Canadians"
revealed that most Canadians know what melanoma is and what it looks like - a
new or existing mole, freckle or spot that is changing in colour, shape or
    However, when it comes to actually checking the skin, fully 55% do not
check their skin often enough. That comprises 24% who never check their skin
and 31% who say they check "less often" than every couple of months. As a
guide, people should check their skin for signs of skin cancer once a month or
every couple of months.
    "The good news is that people are actually very good at detecting
melanoma on their own skin or that of a family member," says Dr. Cheryl Rosen,
national director of the Canadian Dermatology Association's Sun Awareness
Program. "Research shows up to 70% of melanomas are first found by the patient
themselves or close family members," she adds.
    Melanoma is most common on the backs of men and the legs of women but can
appear anywhere on the body including the arm, scalp or face. While less
common in darker skinned people, melanoma may appear on the soles of the feet,
palms of the hands or under the nails among other sites.
    Many Canadians were aware that having a lot of sunburns is a major risk
factor for melanoma (80%), the survey showed. However, less than half of those
surveyed (42%) knew that having many moles or large moles is a strong risk
factor too. Even fewer (34%) recognized that having skin that freckles or is
unable to tan, or red or blond hair (30%) are also risk factors.
    Of course, it is much better to prevent melanoma. When it comes to ways
to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation, many would use a sunscreen
(75%), hats and clothing (69%). However, only 56% would seek shade.
    "There is a need to have more shade available in parks, playing fields
and schools so that this natural protection, as well as built shade, is more
available for people. When shade is available, it is another option for sun
protection," says Dr. Rosen.
    The Canadian Dermatology Association's 21st National Sun Awareness Week
runs from Monday June 8 to Sunday June 14, 2009. The focus for this year is
melanoma awareness. Dermatologists will be holding free, public skin cancer
screenings in various locations to promote awareness of this disease (please
see Events and Media Contacts release).
    To view the complete report, "Melanoma Awareness and Attitudes Survey" by
Angus Reid Strategies, please visit the Canadian Dermatology Association's
website at Further information on melanoma is also
available at this website.

     About the survey

    From May 7 to May 8, 2009, Angus Reid Strategies conducted an online
survey on behalf of the Canadian Dermatology Association among a randomly
selected, representative sample of 1,013 adult Canadians aged 18 and over. The
margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The
results have been statistically weighted according to Statistics Canada's most
current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a
representative sample of the entire adult population of Canada.

    The Canadian Dermatology Association, founded in 1925, represents
Canadian dermatologists, the physicians who specialize in the care and
treatment of the skin, hair and nails. The association exists to advance the
science and art of medicine and surgery related to the care of the skin; to
support and advance patient care; to provide public education on sun awareness
and other aspects of skin care; and to provide continuing medical education   
for Canadian dermatologists - your skin experts!

For further information:

For further information: Sue Sherlock, Communications Officer, Sun
Awareness Program, Canadian Dermatology Association, (604) 985-9184 or cell
(604) 551-2597, email

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