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sun safety

2022 Sunscreen Dispenser Pilot

OUR 2022 SUNSCREEN DISPENSER PILOT HAS BEEN LAUNCHED!

Save Your Skin Foundation partnered with medical student siblings Samuel and Karen Farag, and the municipalities of Summerside, PEI, Riverview, NBNew Westminster, BC, and Brooks, AB – as well as BC Cancer – to launch 10 dispensers in early August 2022.

The dispensers are automatic and touchless, and provide free, Health Canada approved SPF 30 sunscreen for anyone who needs it. The sunscreen is zinc oxide based, free from chemical sunscreen filters, common allergens and toxic ingredients including oxybenzone, avobenzone, retinyl palminate, PEG, parfume, and sodium lauryl sulphate. See image below for more details.

Here are the locations of the dispensers as of August, 2022:

New Westminster, BC

  • Moody Outdoor Pool
  • Hume Outdoor Pool
  • Grimston Park Wading Pool
  • City Parks Works Yard to support City staff working in the outdoors

Summerside, PEI

  • Summerside Turf Field
  • Leger Park
  • Summerside Boardwalk
  • One mobile dispenser to be used for festivals and public events

Riverview, NB

  • Behind the gazebo on the Riverfront Trail

Brooks, AB

  • Duke of Sutherland Park and Splash Pad

Applying sunscreen is part of an overall sun-safe way to enjoy the outdoors. First, limit your time in the direct sunlight, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., seek shade, cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat. Use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF 30, protect the lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or after swimming.

Affixed to the Dispensers is a list of the sunscreen ingredients and reference to Health Canada’s approval of the sunscreen, as well as a disclaimer with respect to the use of the Dispenser or the sunscreen contained therein:

THE SUNSCREEN IS BEING USED AT YOUR OWN RISK. None of Save Your Skin Foundation, (participating cities), nor anyone else connected to these organizations, makes any assurances, representations, guarantees or warranties with respect to the use or effectiveness of the sunscreen or dispenser, and any and all use of the sunscreen or dispenser is done at your own risk. By using the sunscreen or the dispenser, you acknowledge and agree that none of Save Your Skin Foundation, (participating cities and organizations to be listed) nor anyone else connected to these organizations are responsible for the results or consequences from any use of the sunscreen or dispenser.

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Check out our national and international Melanoma Awareness Month initiatives!

May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

This May, Save Your Skin Foundation and Ocumel Canada are running local, national and international campaigns to raise awareness on the importance of prevention and early detection of skin cancers. See a full list of our Melanoma Skin Cancer Month and Ocular Melanoma awareness initiatives HERE.

For the third year in a row, Save your Skin Foundation’s proclamation initiative has invited Canadian municipalities to take a stance against skin cancer and educate their communities on sun safety through mayoral proclamations. Over 38 municipalities across 8 provinces have issued signed Proclamations to proclaim the month of May 2022 ‘Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month’.  Look for your city on the list here

Members of our SYSF team have also had the honour to present to the Mayors and Councils of a dozen municipalities across the country to share their experiences as patients and spread the message of sun safety and early detection of skin cancer.

Skin check awareness

Save Your Skin Foundation is part of the Global Melanoma Coalition, a group of 43 organizations from 28 different countries bringing the patient voice to the melanoma space. The below videos have been created in collaboration with the Global Coalition.

It’s funny what you can miss when you’re not looking for it. Watch the Global Coalition video and learn the importance of checking your skin for melanoma and skin cancer:

Skin self-exam tutorial

This video covers the ABCD&E warning signs of melanoma and skin cancer, and the seven steps for checking the body. Pauses between the seven steps have been included in the film, so you can simply take your phone or tablet into a bathroom, hit play, and follow the instructions in real time:

 

#EyePatchDay

Having regular eye examinations could save your life! Routine eye tests can lead to early detection of ocular melanoma and many other health issues. However, statistics show that we are not visiting the optometrist as frequently as we should.

Make a commitment to booking an eye exam this month!

Visit OcumelCanada.ca to learn more

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See what we have planned for Melanoma Awareness Month 2022!

This year, Save Your Skin Foundation is running local, national and international campaigns to raise awareness on the importance of prevention and early detection of skin cancers. See a full list of our Melanoma Month initiatives HERE.

 

Press Release

Click here to read the news, April 29, 2022: Save Your Skin Foundation Runs Local, National and International Campaigns to Increase Skin Cancer Awareness During Melanoma Awareness Month

 

A common diagnosis with a rare outcome – Helen’s Story

Almost a decade ago, in 2013, Helen found a spot along her hairline that worried her. Two different doctors told her it was nothing to worry about before a dermatologist recognized it as cancerous and had it removed. And that was that, she was assured. Most skin cancers are easily dealt with and life goes on. But, based on her pathology report, Helen had a feeling that this ordeal was far from over.

It takes a village to stand up to cancer: Helen’s story via Macleans.ca

 

Sty-Lives OPHA Challenge

We have partnered with the Ontario Professional Hairstylist Association (OPHA) to create the Sty-Lives OPHA Challenge, which aims to train 200 hair professionals to detect potential skin cancers by May 31, 2022.

The initiative behind the challenge is Styling Hair & Saving Lives (Sty-Lives). Led by two medical students, with the support of SYSF, it aims to empower and educate hairstylists and barbers to detect suspicious skin lesions on the ears, face and scalp of their clients. Participating salons and barbershops are provided with training materials and resources and are taught how to detect suspicious spots. The purpose of the project is to help facilitate communication between the client and their healthcare provider, leading to earlier detection of potentially dangerous skin cancers.

As of this writing, the Sty-Lives OPHA Challenge has already reached 83% of its recruitment goal.

 

Melanoma Month Apparel

Check out our Melanoma Month Collection of Shirts perfect for the melanoma warrior or supporter in your life. As always, the proceeds from the sale of our SYSF merchandise goes directly towards supporting patients when they need it most. Visit our Etsy Store!

 

Thanks to Giving Hope Gala 2022 Sponsors & Supporters

This year’s pool party-themed gala was a lot of fun. A huge thank you to all who joined us and an even bigger thank you to all our sponsors who donated generously to make this event a success. We’ll have more information on the gala, including lots of pictures, in our next newsletter, so stay tuned!

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May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

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]

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

As May marks both Melanoma Awareness Month and the beginning of summer weather, it is imperative that communities across Canada be reminded of the importance of sun safety at this time of year. Save Your Skin Foundation (SYSF) is pleased to announce several initiatives meant to bring greater awareness to the dangerous disease.

CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO CHECK OUT OUR PLANS AND ACTIVITIES TO BRING MELANOMA AWARENESS IN MAY 2021:

 

PRESS RELEASE April 28, 2021: Save Your Skin Foundation Teams up with Vancouver Canucks’ JT Miller to Spread Message of Sun Safety Amid Rising Skin Cancer Rates

Proclamations: Our Canada-wide awareness initiative invites Canadian municipalities to take a stance against skin cancer and educate their communities on sun safety through mayoral proclamations.
This year, 50 Canadian municipalities to across 10 provinces answered our call to proclaim May 2021 ‘Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month’.
Look for your city on the full list HERE!

WEBINAR May 13, 2021 – Click here to watch the recording: Skin Cancer A-Z Educational Webinar with Dr. Salopek

Giving Hope Gala April 29, 2021:  Click here to see how our our virtual event fund raiser went!

SYSF’s 15th Anniversary! Click here to view a collection of the Foundation’s highlights, activities, and events from 2006 to 2021

SYSF Public Service Announcements

Team SYSF Merchandise Store

 

DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE BELOW TO USE AS YOUR FACEBOOK AND TWITTER COVER PHOTO FOR THE MONTH OF MAY:

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO SEE A LIST OF SUN SAFETY AWARENESS RESOURCES YOU CAN DOWNLOAD OR ORDER:

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Sun Safety in the Winter

The arrival of frosty weather prompts the annual changes from t-shirts to turtle necks and flip flops to boots. While cold lemonade is left behind for hot chocolate, one routine that must remain through the seasonal shift is sun safety. Winter leads many to believe that sun protection is no longer required. In reality, fresh snow can reflect between 80-90% of UV rays. The reflection from snow combined with the impact of direct sunlight can therefore result in double exposure[efn_note]https://www.sunsmart.com.au/protect-your-skin/at-the-snow[/efn_note]

This high exposure can be especially worrisome while doing winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. While practicing these sports, people are exposed to blankets of reflective snow along with the consequences of both the sun and the altitude. At higher elevations, UV radiation is absorbed at a lower rate and as a result the UV rays are considerably stronger. The World Health Organization has noted that a 1000 meter increase in altitude is associated with an increase of nearly 10 per cent in UV radiation[efn_note]https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/radiation-ultraviolet-(uv)[/efn_note]. To put that into perspective, the ski resort with the highest elevation in Canada is 2,730 meters. According to the estimation, the ski resort faces almost a 30% increase in UV levels due to altitude[efn_note]https://www.skiresort.info/ski-resorts/canada/sorted/mountain-altitude/[/efn_note]

In addition to this, cloudy skies are not enough to stop the penetration of the sun’s rays. The clouds are actually thought to make the sun more harmful because they cause an unpredictable scattering effect of UV rays[efn_note]https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/radiation-ultraviolet-(uv)[/efn_note]

Taking all of this into consideration, there are actions that can be taken to stay safe from the sun throughout winter. First and foremost, it is advised to wear a sunscreen that is  waterproof[efn_note]https://www.mountainwarehouse.com/expert-advice/how-to-avoid-sunburn-on-slopes[/efn_note]. This sunscreen should be applied and reapplied especially to often missed areas like the nose, ears, neck and chin. Additionally, layering clothing protects the rest of the body from sun exposure and provides warmth from the cold weather[efn_note]https://www.skincancer.org/press/2018-winter-sun-safety/[/efn_note]. Finally, gear like helmets and goggles used for winter sports should not be neglected since they act as both a protectant from injuries and the beaming sun[efn_note]https://www.mountainwarehouse.com/expert-advice/how-to-avoid-sunburn-on-slopes[/efn_note]. Evidently, winter brings about changes in attire, activities and weather but the importance of sun safety remains.

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Sun Safe BC

BC Sun Safety Coalition

Sun Safe BC is a provincial coalition with members involved in sun safety and skin cancer prevention work.  Coordinated and administered by BC Cancer Prevention Program, the coalition works collaboratively to reduce the risk of exposure to UV and its damaging effects. We do this through policy and health protection measures, and by providing health promotion messaging and education to people in BC, with a particular focus on infants, children and youth.

Membership

  • Save Your Skin Foundation
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • CAREX Canada
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • BC Centre for Disease Control
  • UBC Dermatology
  • BC Children’s Hospital
  • BC Cancer
  • Canadian Dermatology Association

 

Action Areas

CAPACITY FOR ACTION – Strengthen capacity among priority population service providers and educators

SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS – Create and strengthen supportive environments to limit exposure to UV radiation

POLICY & DECISION MAKING – Inform decision making and seek to influence sun safe policies, advancing toward provincial policy creation or amendments when and where possible;

ATTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE & BEHAVIOUR – Influence and improve attitudes, knowledge and behaviour around sun safety and develop individual skills to keep healthy and avoid UV radiation damage.

 

Current and past projects

Online Training for Early Childhood Educators

Developed and currently hosting zoom workshops for early childhood educators as part of their professional development requirements.  Early Childhood Educators can play an important role in protecting children from the sun’s rays. The course covers important information about skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation, sun protection methods and easy and practical ways to build sun safety into daily routines at childcare centres.  We are working to convert the course to an interactive, online platform and are looking to expand course offering to others working directly with children.

Shade Pilot Project

We are working with the City of Vancouver to design and install shade solutions for their high UV exposure childcare facilities.  We are currently building a research plan to measure UV exposure and physical activity levels in centres with and without shade sails installed.

Sunscreen Dispenser Project

Members of the coalition have been working to have sunscreen dispensers installed at select park locations during spring/summer months.  To date, sunscreen dispensers have been installed at New Westminster’s Riverfront Park and two park locations in Kelowna.

 

Reports

Annual report 2019/20

Contact

For more information or to connect, visit the website HERE or email breann.corcoran at bccancer.bc.ca or call 604-838-7808.

 

 

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Debunking 5 Myths About the Sun and Tanning

debunking tanning mythsThere are dangerous misconceptions surrounding the safety of tanning. For this reason, we set out to uncover the science behind tanning and understand the truth behind 5 common tanning myths.

MYTH #1: Tanning Beds Are Safer Than the Sun

The best way to understand why tanning beds are more harmful than regular sun exposure is to break down the tanning process. First, when individuals spend time outdoors the sun’s UV rays dig into their skin and break through the skin’s protective layers. In response to this, the skin fights back with specialized skin cells known as melanocytes. The melanocytes release the pigment melanin which causes the tanned appearance. Unfortunately, sometimes the impact of UV rays can become too much for the skin cells to handle and sunburns form as a result. This impact by the UV rays damages the DNA in skin cells and overtime this can also lead to cases of skin cancer and a vulnerable immune system.[efn_note]For more information on the science behind tanning see “Tanning (for Teens)” by Nemours KidsHealth, https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/tanning.html[/efn_note]  With this in mind, if individuals use tanning beds they are subjecting their skin to this damage at a greater frequency than if they were to spend time in the direct sunlight. To solidify this, the World Health Organization has placed tanning beds in the highest cancer risk category. 

MYTH #2: A Base Tan Provides Adequate Sun Protection 

For many years, the theory that a base tan will provide sun protection has tempted individuals to hit the tanning beds before summer vacation. The idea behind this is that the base tan will reduce the chance of sunburning by preparing the skin for a battle in the sun.[efn_note]For more information on base tans see “10 Surprising Facts About Indoor Tanning” by the American Academy of Dermatology Association, https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/surprising-facts-about-indoor-tanning[/efn_note] However, it has been discovered that if a base tan were measured on the SPF scale it would be equivalent to a sun protection factor of between two and four.[efn_note]For more information on tanning safety see “Indoor Tanning Is Out” by the Canadian Dermatology Association, https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/sun-protection/indoor-tanning-is-out/[/efn_note] It has been recommended that individuals wear sunscreen with an SPF of thirty so just by merely examining these numbers it is clear a base tan is not nearly enough protection. In addition to this, the base tan would be exposing the skin to the known damage of tanning beds which is more dangerous than protective. The lack of evidence to support the base tan theory confirms it is not the best route and the best sun protection is still sunscreen, sunglasses and sun safety apparel.[efn_note]For further information on base tans see “A Healthy Base Tan?” by Forefront Dermatology, https://forefrontdermatology.com/heathy-base-tan/[/efn_note]

MYTH #3: Extra Sun Exposure Is Necessary for Vitamin D Levels

It is a common fact  that Vitamin D is associated with healthy bones, but Vitamin D can be obtained more easily than most people think. There is no need to spend a prolonged amount of time in the sun to soak up the sought after vitamin. It can be acquired through eating foods abundant in Vitamin D like salmon, tuna and egg yolks. Milk sold at grocery stores is also enriched with Vitamin D to reduce the chance of bone health concerns. In addition to this, after consulting a doctor, and if deemed appropriate, there are Vitamin D supplement options. This being said, the amount of time individuals spend outside naturally is sufficient in increasing Vitamin D levels, making a lengthy time outdoors for that specific purpose unnecessary.[efn_note] For more information on Vitamin D see “Vitamin D Myths ‘D’-bunked” by Yale Medicine, https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/vitamin-d-myths-debunked/[/efn_note]

tanning isn't worth the risk

MYTH #4: Sunscreen Is Unnecessary While Under Cover 

There exists a common misconception that being under shade protects the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The issue with this is that although individuals may not be in the direct line of the UV rays they can still be indirectly affected when the sun’s rays reflect off of other surfaces. For example, it is common to sit under an umbrella for shade during a day at the beach but the sun can still reflect off of the water and sand. On top of this, it can be difficult to always remain completely covered under an umbrella or shaded area because the sun moves quickly. For these reasons it is safest to still apply sunscreen for full coverage.[efn_note]For more information on the use of sunscreen see “Healthy Skin: Made in the Shade?” by the Skin Cancer Foundation, https://www.skincancer.org/blog/healthy-skin-made-in-the-shade/[/efn_note]

MYTH #5: Tanning Achieves Perfect Skin

The results of a tan can appear to cause skin to look radiant and remove the sign of blemishes. In fact, tanning the skin only temporarily creates this effect and it is well known that every tan creates varying levels of skin damage. Sun exposure is the most common cause of skin damage and wrinkling. Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight causes changes to the skin. In addition to fine lines and wrinkles, UV damage causes brown spots and pigment irregularity, as well as broken capillaries and red blotches.[efn_note]For more information on skin damage by sun esposure see “Wrinkles” by the Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/wrinkles[/efn_note] In light of this, as tempting as it may be, a tan is not needed to achieve perfect skin. Skin care is about keeping skin healthy and not trying to make it look flawless. The skin functions and protects the human body in so many ways which is why it is important to take care of it. The best way to do this is to practice sun safety while outdoors and steer clear of tanning beds. 

For more information on sun safety, and to access resources to help you protect yourself, check out our Prevention page and our Sun Safety Resources poster.

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New Sun Safety T-shirts

During the month of May, SYSF ran a drawing contest titled “This is What Sun Safety Looks Like” in order to find a new design to adorn our sun safety t-shirts. The contest was aimed at youth under the age of 16. Once the contest submission period was over, we invited the general public to vote for their favourite drawing. The winning drawing, submitted to us by Miley from Scotchlake, NS, won by a landslide. Her drawing, depicting an umbrella, a tube of sunscreen and a water bottle on a road trip to Sun Safety Way in a vintage Volkswagon van, won us over with its fun interpretation of sun safety.

Our new t-shirts and other merchandise, which bear the awesome design, are now on sale in our brand new online merchandise store. We also have some awesome tote bags with the design!

All proceeds made from the sale of our merchandise goes directly to assisting patients meet their everyday needs during treatment in the form of transportation, accommodation, child care, lost wages and more.

Get your very own sun safety t-shirts and tote bags by visiting our brand new store!

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New Survey Results Show Gaps in Knowledge About Melanoma

WE NEED TO STEP UP OUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT MELANOMA                                                                                                                   

A recent survey of adult Canadians, conducted by Leger in March 2020 in collaboration with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. and Save Your Skin Foundation, shows gaps in knowledge about the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma. 

Here’s what the survey told us:

About one quarter of Canadians (26%) are not aware or don’t know that spending more time in the sun increases their risk of melanoma.

Only half of respondents (51%) say they are knowledgeable about melanoma.

Canadians who claim to be knowledgeable about melanoma are significantly more likely to believe that they are at risk of melanoma (48% vs. 24%) of those who say they are not knowledgeable.

More than half of Canadians (55%) either don’t know or incorrectly identified that small amounts of sun exposure without protection can lead to melanoma.

60% of Canadians have a misconception that melanoma mainly occurs in people with fair skin.

Only 39% correctly identified that melanoma can occur in all skin types.

A majority of Canadians (58%) have a misconception that treating melanoma is a simple procedure.

Two thirds of Canadians (66%) say they would want to know their mutation type if diagnosed with melanoma.

Only 15% strongly agree that knowing their mutation type could change the course of their melanoma treatment journey.

Only half of Canadians (48%) believe that melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In the under 55 group, just over one third of the Canadians (37%) identify melanoma as the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Knowledge is power. Help us get Canadians more informed about melanoma.

To download a PDF version of these findings, click here.

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To Protect Yourself from Melanoma, Look UP

Our friends at Euromelanoma, in collaboration with the Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy (an initiative of the Melanoma Research Foundation, of which SYSF is a member) have launched a new campaign to encourage people to do monthly skin checks. The campaign encourages people to “Look Up”.

If they see the sun, people should take action to protect their skin. If they see the full moon, they should perform a monthly skin check.

Help protect your loved ones and spread awareness of the importance of skin checks by downloading and sharing this poster:

To read the full report on global skin cancer statistics which inspired this campaign, please CLICK HERE.

Save Your Skin Foundation is proud to support and share this campaign to increase awareness of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.  We thank Euro Melanoma for their hard work and collaboration, and we appreciate the sponsors and partners of the project.  Watch our social media channels for more on this initiative, and as always, feel free to contact us if you would like more information! natalie@saveyourskin.ca

About the Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy: Click here to go to their introductory web page.  Save Your Skin is proud to be working with US-based Melanoma Research Foundation and the many other groups in the Coalition.  More on this is developing as we work together from our locations around the world to improve the lives of melanoma patients and their families.

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