November 27, 2007



* The sun’s rays can cause sunburn, wrinkles and skin cancer
* 1 bad sunburn during childhood can double a child’s risk of developing skin cancer in later life
* the depletion of the ozone layer above Canada in the last ten years has resulted in an increase in skin cancers by 13 per cent; this increase will continue throughout the 1990’s
* 50,000 Canadians will get skin cancer this year, 500 will die from it.
* most skin cancers can be cured if treated at an early stage
* almost all skin cancers are curable


Your risk of skin cancer is related to your skin type and the amount of time you spend in the sun. How vulnerable are you ? Answer Yes or No to the following statements:

* I have red or blond hair.
* I have light-colored eyes, blue green or gray.
* I always burn before I tan.
* I freckle easily.
* I have many moles.
* I had two or more blistering sunburns before I turned 18.
* I lived or had long vacations in a tropical climate as a child.
* There is a family history of skin cancer.
* I work outdoors.
* I spend a lot of time in outdoor activities.
* I am an indoor worker but like to get out in the sun as much as possible when I am able.

* SCORE YOURSELF 10 points for each "yes".
* ADD an additional 10 points if you use tanning devices, tanning booths or sun lamps.

(80-100) You are in the high risk zone. Read on to find out how you can protect your skin from the sun. Examine your lifestyle to see what changes you can make.

(40-70) You are at increased risk. Pick up the following tips on sun protection and take all precautions possible.

(10-30) You’re still at risk. Carry on being careful.

1. Limit your time in the sun. Try to stay out of the sun between 11 AM and 4 PM.

FOR CHILDREN: Play inside, go to the library, visit with friends inside, do arts and crafts in the kitchen, sleep.

2. Protect yourself. Wear a hat, clothes, sunscreen with and SPF of at least 15.

3. Check your skin every month. SPOT CHECK your skin from your head to between your toes once a month. The following ABCD’s may be signs of malignant melanoma.

A. Asymmetry – one half unlike the other half
B. Border irregularity – scalloped or poorly circumscribed border
C. Color varied from one area to another; shades of tan and brown; black; sometimes white, red or blue.
D. Diameter larger than 6 mm (diameter of a pencil eraser).

4. Beware of tanning beds and pills. Many are untested and unsafe.

5. Wear sunglasses. Make sure they properly block UV radiation. Sunglasses that only partially block UV may actually hurt your eyes more than not wearing sunglasses at all.

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