Sun safety means reducing harmful exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, while still being able to enjoy outdoors. UV radiation is invisible and can come from the sun or from other sources such as indoor tanning and sun beds. UV radiation can be damaging to the skin and eyes without appropriate protection.
Being sun safe can reduce your risk of:
In most cases the benefits of being sun safe outweigh the benefits of sun exposure. For example, vitamin D is a benefit of sun exposure but we can also get vitamin D from our diet. Examples of vitamin D containing foods include egg yolks, some dairy products such as cheese, and fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
Exposure to the sun and other sources of UV radiation causes up to 90% of skin cancers and other skin and eye damage. According to the 2006 National Sun Survey, adults from Manitoba were most likely to spend time in the sun for at least two hours on a typical summer day and are least likely to practice sun protection behaviour.
There are two types of skin cancer that can be caused by UV radiation.
In 2015, it was estimated that about 60% of melanomas in Canada were attributable to exposure to UV radiation, about 29% were attributable to the combination of sunburn, sunbathing, and indoor tanning. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada, but also one the most preventable. As an example, we could prevent around 260 cancer cases in 2038 if people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan practice sun safety, starting today.
Being sun safe protects your skin and eyes from UV radiation exposure, which can help prevent cancer. Protection from UV rays is important all year, not just during summer time as UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days. There are three types of cancer-causing UV radiation:
UV radiation can change skin cells and can cause uncontrolled cell growth, which can develop into cancer. The cells can group together and form moles (bumps or spots that are brown or pink) on the skin. Moles are usually non-cancerous tumors, but a change in size, colour, or shape of the mole may be a first sign of melanoma skin cancer.
Sun safety is important all year round, not just in the summer. UV radiation can reach you on a cloudy day, and they can reflect off of snow, water, sand, and concrete. A few safety measures could prevent much of the cancer due to UV radiation. To reduce your risk of cancer:
Here are some more programs and resources to help you be sun safe.