To the editor,
For the second year in a row, it’s estimated Nova Scotia will have the highest rates of malignant melanoma in the country.
According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, experts estimate that about 90 per cent of melanomas are associated with severe UV exposure and sunburns over a lifetime. With summer officially underway, physicians are reminding children and their parents that a few simple precautions can keep kids safe in the sun.
Doctors in the province recommend Nova Scotians use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Use water-resistant, sweat-resistant or sport sunscreen if you’re involved in activities in water or will perspire. Reapply sunscreen after swimming, towelling or heavy perspiration.
It’s also important to reduce your sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wearing loose-fitting clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection will help keep you cool, comfortable and protect you from the dangers of sun exposure.
Remember, tanning beds are not safer than the sun. Doctors urge Nova Scotians to avoid artificial tanning. Tanning beds expose you to up to five times more radiation than the sun and increase your risk of malignant melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer. Those who use tanning beds before age 30 have a 75 per cent increase in the risk of developing melanoma.
The Canadian Cancer Society has reported that this year an estimated 81,300 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed in Canada and 320 Canadians will die of it. Don’t volunteer to be one of them.
The doctors of Nova Scotia wish all Nova Scotians a happy, healthy, and safe summer. Remember to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and practise sun-safety at all times.
John Finley, MDCM, FRCPC
President, Doctors Nova Scotia