The Best Gift is Protecting Your Skin and Maybe Your Life

The holiday season is on its way. With winter fast-approaching, Canadians thoughts turn to warmer climates and southern vacations. The Melanoma Network of Canada (MNC), wants to remind you that if you’re thinking of getting a “base tan” by using a tanning bed or UV lamp before going on a sunny holiday, think again.

Annette Cyr, Chair of MNC says “the first step to both skin cancer and a tan is DNA damage. This indicates there’s one common initiating event, so the concept of a safe tan becomes essentially impossible.”

When your skin colour changes, it’s damaged and that can lead to premature aging and skin cancers like melanoma. Ultraviolet rays, no matter if you get them from the sun or a tanning bed, cause skin cancer. In fact, recent studies have pointed out that the use of indoor tanning equipment before the age of 35 has been found to increase the risk of melanoma by 75%. A tan offers almost no protection from sunlight or burning, and some tanning beds can expose you to 5 times more radiation than the sun.

Cyr says “Indoor tanning represents an avoidable risk factor for skin cancer, and education of the general public as well as the enactment and stricter enforcement of indoor tanning legislation are a public health imperative.”

In 2011, 5,500 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and about 940 are projected to die from the disease. Melanoma incidence rates are increasing each year. Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadians, with over 80,000 expected cases in 2011 and nearly 300 expected deaths. The best gift you can give yourself is a long and healthy life. Be Sun Safe and Sun Aware for life.