Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada and also one of the most preventable!
While the cause of many cancers remains unknown, the reason for this most common cancer is too many sunburns and too much UVR exposure over many years. 1 in 7 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime; however, we know that this disease is largely preventable. People under the age of 18 are at the highest risk. Children and youth spend more time outside than adults do – in fact, 80% of people’s exposure to UVR occurs before the age of 18.
Research indicates childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is an important contributing factor to the development of skin cancer in later life. Given students are at school during the highest risk period of the day – between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. – schools play a major role in both minimizing students’ exposure and positively influencing student behavior by establishing and reinforcing healthy sun safe habits.
Staying inside is not the answer. As Canadian children are spending more time indoors, physical activity is decreasing, childhood obesity rates are soaring, and there is a diminished sense of community amongst children. These trends are impossible to ignore. It is imperative that children spend time outdoors.
By establishing effective routines, enhancing shade on school grounds, and developing and implementing a SunSense policy, schools can ensure that children are enjoying the range of benefits associated with time in the outdoors while being sun safe.
To learn more about skin cancer prevention, click here or call 1-888-939-3333