Hundreds of footwear lined Albert Street in Regina in efforts to make cancer an election issue

29 September 2011

Regina -

The Canadian Cancer Society lined Albert Street with hundreds of pairs of footwear Thursday morning, in an effort to encourage Saskatchewan voters to make cancer prevention a provincial election issue. Each group of 14 pairs of shoes represents the number of people diagnosed with cancer each day in Saskatchewan. The Society is calling on all political parties, if elected, to commit to preventing cancer by adopting policies on indoor tanning, cosmetic pesticides and tobacco reduction. “This is about the health of Saskatchewan residents,” says Donna Ziegler, the Society’s director of cancer control.

The Canadian Cancer Society, empowered by its volunteers, staff and donors, is working tirelessly to do everything it can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Now the Society is asking for the help of Saskatchewan voters to question their provincial candidates on where they stand on these cancer fighting policies. To assist voters, the Society launched a new election website with background information on the issues, questions to ask candidates and the position of Saskatchewan’s political parties on these issues.

One of the Society’s immediate priorities is legislation to restrict indoor tanning by youth under the age of 18. Indoor tanning equipment can emit ultraviolet radiation at levels that are five times stronger than the mid day summer sun. In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified tanning equipment as a known carcinogen putting it in the highest cancer risk category.

“Every day young people across the province intentionally expose themselves to a known human carcinogen thanks to an industry that targets its services to youth,” says Donna Ziegler. “It’s crucial that we take action to protect the health of our youth.” Melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – is one of the most common forms of cancer for people aged 15-29 years and is mostly preventable.

"There is no safe way to tan", says Dr. Roberta McKay, a well-known Regina dermatologist.  "Tanning puts you at risk of developing skin cancer and it reduces your immune system's ability to protect you."

24-year-old university student Jenna Gaube started indoor tanning as a teenager but quit after learning about the risk. “I’m a young woman who was completely unaware of the dangers. I started using a tanning bed regularly at age 16 and realized that there are probably a lot of young women like myself who are completely unaware of what they are doing to themselves by using those beds.”

The risk is real, especially for young people. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that using a tanning bed before the age of 35 can increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma by as much as 75%.

For more information and background on all of the Society’s election issues visit

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Ziegler

Director, Cancer Control

Phone: (306) 790-9876