April 30th, 2020

// All Hands on Deck Needed to Stop Dangerous Disease

All Hands on Deck Needed to Stop Dangerous Disease

Save Your Skin Foundation is Creating a Healthier and More Sun Safe Canada During Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Month

TORONTO, April 30, 2020 /CNW/ - May is Melanoma Awareness Month and Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF) is pleased to announce the launch of several new initiatives meant to bring greater awareness to the dangerous disease.

As May marks both Melanoma Awareness Month and the beginning of summer, it is imperative that communities across Canada be reminded of the importance of sun safety at this time of year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Canadians to stay home, but that doesn't mean they aren't spending time outside. In fact, many have more time than usual to enjoy the outdoors, making sun safety education as relevant as ever.

"COVID-19 has highlighted everyone's willingness to take drastic measures to preserve our health," says Kathy Barnard, stage 4 melanoma survivor and Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation. "Increased preventative efforts and methods of early detection, particularly in the form of public education, public policy and built environments are also needed to reduce skin cancer rates."

Skin Cancer in Canada is still on the rise

COVID-19 isn't the only disease whose rates can be drastically reduced through education and preventative measures. Skin cancer rates in Canada continue to rise, including melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancers, despite being 90% preventable. 

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. There are more new cases of skin cancer each year than the number of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers COMBINED[1]. While most forms of non-melanoma skin cancer can be surgically removed, melanoma is an aggressive form of cancer. The five-year relative survival rate of melanoma that has metastasized is just 18%.[2]

Despite these figures, many people seek sun without taking the recommended precautionary measures, or believe that only severe burns contribute to one's risk of skin cancer. In fact, any darkening of the skin, including a tan, is indicative of UV damage.

Melanoma Awareness Month Initiatives

Throughout the month of May, SYSF will be engaged in several initiatives to bring awareness to melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancers, and ocular melanoma. The month will be starting out with a bang thanks to a new drawing contest aimed at youth. The contest's theme "This is what sun safety looks like", will encourage 

participants to submit drawings depicting actions or environments which help prevent skin cancer. The winning entry will be determined through open voting once the May 15th deadline for submission has passed, with a $100 gift card going to the artist with the most votes.

SYSF will also be taking part in the Euro Melanoma 'Look Up' campaign, which invites people to use the full moon as a reminder to perform skin self-exams every month. Additionally, we will be hosting an educational webinar and posting special content on our social media channels every day. Finally, a PSA will be airing on Shaw Cable.

Municipal Proclamations

To increase the reach of SYSF's awareness campaign this year, a new proclamation initiative invited BC municipalities to take a stance against skin cancer and educate their communities on sun safety through mayoral proclamations.

SYSF is pleased to announce that seventeen BC municipalities, listed below, have accepted SYSF's invitation to proclaim the month of May 2020 'Melanoma Awareness Month'.

City of VancouverCity of Kelowna
City of VictoriaTown of Comox
City of Burnaby District of Saanich
City of RichmondDistrict of Central Saanich
City of New WestminsterCity of Prince George 
City of SurreyCity of Williams Lake 
City of WhistlerDistrict of Mission
City of NanaimoCity of Langford
City of Campbell River 

Mayor of New Westminster, Jonathan Coté, was first to commit to proclaiming May 2020 as Melanoma Awareness Month, and decided to challenge other BC municipalities to follow his example. "Skin cancer is largely preventable, and yet there are more cases now than ever," said Coté.  "This is why as Mayor of New Westminster, I'm happy to support this important initiative and challenge all BC municipalities to do the same."

"This is an important initiative, especially for hot, sunny communities like ours," said Mayor of Kelowna, Colin Basran. "Skin cancer is a serious public health concern, and incidences of the disease are only increasing."

About Save Your Skin Foundation
Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF) is a patient-led not-for-profit organization dedicated to the fight against non-melanoma skin cancers, melanoma, and ocular melanoma through education, advocacy, and awareness initiatives across Canada. SYSF is dedicated to providing a community of oncology patient and caregiver support throughout the entire continuum of care, from prevention and diagnosis to survivorship. Please visit saveyourskin.ca for more information.

1 Canadian Cancer Society's Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017. Available at: https://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2017-EN.pdf. Accessed March 4, 2020

2 "Survival Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer - Canadian Cancer Society." Canadian Cancer Societywww.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/prognosis-and-survival/survival-statistics/?region=on. Accessed April 24, 2020

SOURCE Save Your Skin Foundation

For further information:

Media Contact: Marianne Gagnon, marianne@saveyourskin.ca, 250-256-6561

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