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UV/Sun Safety - The Science

Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancer types, because we can manage our exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

UV radiation from tanning beds / lamps can be up to 15 times as much as from the sun.

UV / sun facts
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, or rays, is invisible waves of energy given off by the sun and tanning lamps/beds.
  • Exposure to UV radiation causes damage to skin cells, which can lead to cancer.
  • Each sunburn has an effect on skin cancer risk, even if the sunburn is mild.

Did you know that...

  • Having a tan is not healthy, it is actually a sign of damage to the skin, which can cause skin cancer.
  • A "base tan" gives very little UV protection and causes damage.
  • No matter what your natural skin colour is, your skin cells can be damaged by UV radiation exposure.
  • Indoor tanning lamps give off up to 15 times as much UV radiation as the sun.
  • Melanoma skin cancer can kill you.
  • All skin cancers need to be treated and that involves surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. Removal of skin cancer can leave you scarred for life.
  • The sun also causes wrinkling, sagging skin, freckles, moles and cataracts (damage to your eyes).

What types of cancers are linked to UV radiation exposure?

Exposure to UV radiation can increase your chances of developing these cancers:

  • Melanoma - the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Most people know melanoma as a mole that has gone "bad" or looks strange in shape and/or colour.
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer.
Here are some BC statistics (2015 data*) on the number of new diagnoses (male and female) for the cancers that were likely caused by UV rays:

Melanoma: 518
Non-melanoma skin cancer (statistics not available)

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SOURCE: UV/Sun Safety - The Science ( )
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