As Skin Cancer Rates Continue to Rise Across Canada, Save Your Skin Foundation is Raising Awareness on the Need for Prevention, Early Detection and Patient Support
TORONTO, April 30, 2018 /CNW/ - This year, for Melanoma Month, Save Your Skin Foundation, a Canadian, patient-led, not-for-profit organization operating across Canada and internationally, is dedicating this month to the following initiatives:
- Raising public awareness of skin cancer, the need for preventative measures, and the importance of early detection.
- Supporting patients by offering assistance, providing helpful resources, and fighting for equal, timely access to treatment.
- Helping the emerging population of melanoma survivors to transition to life after cancer.
Canada has a Skin Cancer Problem
Skin cancer is a serious disease. It is the most common type of cancer. It is also one of the most preventable. Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 7,200 of which are melanomas, the mostly deadly form of skin cancer. In its late stages, the average life expectancy for melanoma is just six months, with a one-year survival rate of only 25 per cent, making metastatic melanoma one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. It is estimated that 1,200 Canadians lost their lives to melanoma in 2017 (Canadian Cancer Society's Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017. Available at: cancer.ca/Canadian-CancerStatistics-2017-EN.pdf (accessed April 2018)).
Skin Cancer is 90% Preventable
- Skin cancer rates have continued to rise in Canada over the last several decades, despite being 90% preventable (Koh HK, Geller AC, Miller DR, et al. Prevention and early detection strategies for melanoma and skin cancer: Current status. Arch Dermatol 1996; 132(4):436-442). It is clear that increased awareness about prevention is desperately needed. Skin cancer is caused by overexposure of the skin to UV radiation. The most common sources of UV radiation on the skin are the sun and artificial tanning beds. Information on the best sun safety practices can be found here.
Early Detection Increases Survival
Moles are the most common indication of melanoma and other skin cancers; luckily, they can be kept track of with skin self-examinations. That is why it is important to perform a skin self-examination all over your body once a month, and have a physician check your skin once a year.
Look for the following "ABCDEFG" warning signs:
- Asymmetry: Is the mole irregularly shaped?
- Borders: Are the edges uneven, scalloped or notched?
- Colours: Is there a variety of shades (brown, red, white, blue or black)?
- Diameter: Is the mole larger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser, or larger?
- Evolution: Has there been a change in size, shape, color, or height?
- Firm: Is the mole harder than the surrounding skin?
- Growing: Is the mole gradually getting larger?
If you detect any of these warning signs, see a physician promptly. It is particularly important for you to select a physician who specializes in skin cancer and is trained to recognize a melanoma at its earliest stage.
It is our mission to bring hope and support to all those newly diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment, or to those in remission. We invite all melanoma patients, at any stage, to get in touch. We can connect patients to useful information and resources, help them navigate the healthcare system, give peer counselling, and offer emotional and financial support. We do not intend to replace the medical advice of a doctor or healthcare provider, but to provide the support, understanding and experience that only a community of melanoma survivors can offer. Patients can connect with us at [email protected] or 1-800-460-5832.
Life after treatment is an area of patient care that is often neglected. After treatments are over, many people experience mixed emotions of being glad it's over, yet anxious about what the future may hold. As many patients say, cancer changes you. This can be an unexpectedly challenging period of adjustment, where patients need a different kind of care. Save Your Skin Foundation's I'm Living Proof initiative brings together a community of melanoma survivors to share and support one another.
- The Month of May – May is Melanoma Awareness Month.
- May 7 – Melanoma Monday. Melanoma Monday is observed on the first Monday in May and is internationally recognized as a day of skin cancer awareness.
- May 10 – Save Your Skin Foundation's Giving Hope Gala & Auction will raise funds for the foundation and the patients we help on Thursday, May 10th at St. James Cathedral Centre, Toronto. The event will feature themed cocktails and canapés, an exclusive silent auction, entertainment, up-to-the-minute information on the current melanoma landscape in Canada, and a recap of sun safety and skin cancer prevention methods and initiatives. Further details and tickets available here.
About Save Your Skin Foundation
Save Your Skin Foundation is a patient-lead national not-for profit foundation dedicated to the areas of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. We focus on education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those touched by skin cancer, and fighting for equal, timely access to treatment for all Canadians. Please visit saveyourskin.ca for more information.
SOURCE Save Your Skin Foundation
For further information: Media Contact: Amy Jones, Media Relations, Save Your Skin Foundation, T: 1-778-317-1485, [email protected]