Sun exposure no day at the beach for young adults

    National Sun Survey results released today

    VANCOUVER, July 10 /CNW/ - 42 per cent of British Columbians aged 16-24
spend at least two hours in the sun on a typical summer day, but more than
40 per cent don't practice any form of sun protection, according to results of
the National Sun Survey released today by the Canadian Cancer Society.
    The survey also found that more than a third (36%) of young adults in
B.C. aged 16-24 tried to get a tan from the sun in the past year, and a third
(33%) reported having a sunburn at least once during the summer months.
    "From a skin cancer prevention point of view, we have work to do," the
Society's manager of health promotion for B.C. and the Yukon, Sharon
Storoschuk said. "Sun damage builds up over time. People who have had severe
sunburn before age 18 are at higher risk of skin cancer."
    According to Storoschuk, adults in B.C. and Ontario (71%) are the most
compliant in Canada. But young adults here are risking skin cancer now and,
later in life. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is the second
most common cancer in persons aged 15-34.
    "Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun or from artificial sources
(such as tanning beds) is the major cause of skin cancer in Canada," she said.
    "When you consider that almost half (46%) of young adults aged 16-24 in
B.C. worked outdoors in June, July, or August of 2006, the health concerns
really start to add up."
    The survey also found that on a typical summer day, approximately 52 per
cent of children in Canada, and 46 per cent of children in B.C., spend at
least two hours in the sun.
    Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada. In 2008, an estimated
73,000 Canadians (about 10,000 in B.C.) will be diagnosed with basal cell and
squamous cell cancers, the most common forms of non-melanoma cancers.
    An estimated 4,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma, which is
less common but more likely to be fatal. In B.C., there will be about
740 cases this year and 125 deaths.
    Although some sun exposure can have health benefits, such as enabling
people to make vitamin D, people should avoid too much unprotected time in the
sun, particularly people with light skin.
    Storoschuk said most people assume using a broad spectrum sunscreen with
a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher is the best way to avoid sun
damage, when it's just one of many precautions.

    About the survey

    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; and
    -   their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours about tanning, sun
        exposure, and sun protection.

    Parents with children aged 1-12 (about 1,400) were asked to report about
a child's time in the sun, sun protection and cases of sunburn.
    The survey will provide health groups and policymakers with information
to assist in developing effective programs to minimize overexposure to
ultraviolet radiation.
    The Canadian Cancer Society is the primary funder of the survey. The
Public Health Agency of Canada ( provided additional
    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.

    Since 1938, the Canadian Cancer Society has operated as a national
charitable organization providing valuable cancer information services,
funding research and educating Canadians on cancer risks. In British Columbia
and the Yukon, the Society works with approximately 20,000 volunteers in over
80 communities, and has funded more than $35-million in BC-based research
since 2000. For more information, visit, or call the toll-free,
bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Marcelo Dominguez, Manager,
Media Relations, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division, T: (604)
675-7340, C: (778) 686-1300, E:

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Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

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