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Skin Cancer is Common and Preventable

There are three main forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma – together referred to as non-melanoma skin cancer – and melanoma. Melanoma is responsible for most skin cancer deaths.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in Canada and Saskatchewan. It's also one of the most preventable. In Saskatchewan, more than 3,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. In 2012 there were 35 deaths from melanoma and 4 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers.

The number of new skin cancer cases in Canada in 2014 account for almost the same number of new cancer cases as the four major cancers combined (lung, breast, colorectal and prostate).

UVR exposure is the most preventable cause of skin cancer

Skin cancer is strongly associated with exposure to UVR. The sources of UVR are the sun and indoor tanning equipment.

Indoor tanning is an intentional exposure to the sun that is entirely avoidable. Stay away from tanning beds!

The younger you are when you start indoor tanning, the higher the risk.

Research shows a 59% increased risk of melanoma among those who reported using indoor tanning before the age of 35 compared with those who did not use indoor tanning. The younger the age when indoor tanning begins and the more frequent the use, the greater the risk.


References

Boniol M, Autier P, Boyle P, Gandini S. Correction: Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012;345:e8503.  http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/345/bmj.e4757.full.pdf

Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014.Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2014. http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2014-EN.pdf

Colantonio S, Bracken MB, Beecker J. The association of indoor tanning and melanoma in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70: 847-57.

Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. Cancer registry data; unpublished

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2014. http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/prevent-skin-cancer/call-to-action-prevent-skin-cancer.pdf