As medical professionals, Canada’s dermatologists are acutely aware of the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on Canadians, including the indisputable links to skin cancer. 

Melanoma and other skin cancers can be prevented through simple measures, and early detection is the key to saving lives. Conduct monthly head-to-toe self-exams to look for suspicious changes on your skin.

It’s simple: use a mirror in a well-lit room to check the obvious and not-so-ob vious places, such as your underarms, buttocks, and scalp. Don’t forget to have a close look at your hands and feet. You can enlist someone else to check hard-to-see areas like your back.

If you spot a suspicious lesion, consult your family doctor, who can refer you to a certified dermatologist.

Canadians have misconceptions about “sun smart” practices. Check out these statistics:

  • 60% of people surveyed falsely believe some sun exposure without sunscreen is needed to meet vitamin D requirements.
  • 18% of people use sunscreen daily — far less than recommended.
  • 23% of people believe getting a sunburn is the first step in getting a tan. Sunburns can increase the risk of melanoma.
  • 25% of people agree that the dangers of sun exposure are exaggerated.

Questions were fielded on Ipsos’ Canadian online omnibus between September 5 and 11, 2018, to a representative sample of 1,204 Canadians, age 16 and older.