Why is the impact of Melanoma important to Albertans?
Melanoma skin cancer is the 7th most common cancer in Alberta.1
About 600 adults were diagnosed in 2012.2
- There are 2 major types of skin cancers: melanoma and non-melanoma. Non-melanoma skin cancers aren’t included in the Alberta Cancer Registry, so it’s hard to know exactly how many new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Alberta each year.
- When melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are combined, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Canada.3
- Melanoma isn't as common as other types of skin cancer, but it is the most serious.
- Melanoma is slightly more common in men than in women.
- From 1992 to 2012, the risk for men getting melanoma increased, but the risk for women stayed the same.
- The risk of getting melanoma rises for both men and women after about age 35. Rates are higher for men than for women after about age 50.
What can I do?
Ultraviolet rays from the sun or tanning beds account for all of these preventable cases. Enjoy the sun safely: protect your skin, protect your eyes.
Experts in Alberta agree that we can prevent about 82 out of 100 cases of melanoma.2 Here’s how:
Check the daily forecast for the UV Index and protect your skin accordingly.
When the UV Index is 3 or higher, protect your skin as much as possible. In general, in Canada, the UV Index is 3 or higher from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. between April and September. The UV Index can be 3 or higher even when it’s cloudy.
- Seek shade or bring your own.
- Wear a hat and clothing that covers as much skin as possible, as appropriate to the activity and weather.
- Use "broad spectrum", "water-resistant" sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on skin not covered by clothing. Apply sunscreen generously and put on more when needed.
- Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities for before 11:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m., between April and September.
- Don’t deliberately try to get a tan and avoid getting a sunburn.
- Use sources of vitamin D that are safer than ultraviolet radiation, e.g., dietary sources, fortified foods and vitamin D supplements.
- Protect your eyes: Wear sunglasses or eyeglasses with UV protective lenses when outdoors from morning to evening, all year round, even when it's cloudy.
Indoor tanning is another important source of exposure to ultraviolet radiation that causes melanoma. Using tanning equipment before the age of 35 can increase the risk of melanoma by 59%.
Learn more about the risks of indoor tanning and ways to protect yourself and your family.