While a glowing tan may provide a boost in self-confidence, it can also be dangerous if you are not careful. Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers worldwide. In Canada, it is one of the top 7 most frequent cancers, affecting 6000 people in 2013 and causing 1,027 deaths. (source)
While these stats may terrify you, they don’t mean you should take to the shade for the rest of the summer. Instead, it’s important to be informed about your risks and how to avoid them.
If you didn’t already know, the primary cause of melanoma is exposure to harmful UV rays. These rays can come from either the sun or a tanning bed. 90% of melanoma cases are related to severe UV exposure and sunburns over a lifetime (source).
Who is at Risk?
Young people are most affected by melanoma; it is one of the most common types of cancer affecting youth between the ages of 15-29. (source)
Other risk factors include fair, sensitive skin that burns rather than tans or having freckles. Having a large amount of moles, some of which are large or unusual in shape. A family history of melanoma could also be an indicator.
Even if you don’t have any of the above risk factors, you remain susceptible to melanoma. (source)
What Can I Do?
You can prevent melanoma by taking the following precautions:
- Become effective at checking for unusual moles. Did you know? People have become very successful at identifying melanoma on their own skin or that of a family member. Research shows that 53% of melanomas are discovered by the patients themselves, and a further 17% by their family members. (source)
- It is vital that you remember to apply sunscreen. Sunscreen Tip! Use foundation that already includes SPF in it so you can set it and forget it!
- Spend some time in the shade; direct sunlight means less UV protection. Plus you can still get a tan in the shade!
- UV protected sunglasses. Your eyes should be protected from harmful UV rays too! To help protect your eyes, our partners Bense Optical is offering $50 off sunglasses! Find out more here.