Why Screen Me?

We’d like to screen everyone from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays! Unfortunately, the truth is that very few Canadians screen themselves for sun safe behaviours, even though it’s really very easy to do. We’d like to change that.

The Melanoma Network of Canada provides information about the importance of sun safety for children and teens – with a longer-term goal of ultimately changing the attitudes and behaviour of youth about sun safety.

MYTH: A tan is a sign of “good health.”

FACT: In fact, there is no such thing as a “healthy tan.” A tan is a sign that the body is trying to protect itself from UV damage.

The best and healthiest tan is none at all.

We know we have a challenge ahead. Most kids don’t think much about sun safety until perhaps it’s too late and they have a tan, or worse, a burn. Even more challenging is that many of Canadian parents aren’t aware of how serious UV exposure can be for their kids. After all, we live in the Great White North, not sunny Mexico, right? The truth is that UV exposure can be harmful all year round—even when it’s cold outside or there’s snow on the ground.

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MYTH: Sun-related skin cancer is not common in Canada – heck, it’s freezing cold 9 months of the year!

FACT: Over 81,000 skin cancers were diagnosed in Canada in 2014. More than 6,000 of these diagnoses were melanoma. Sadly, 1,027 died of the disease and nearly 500 died of non-melanoma skin cancers. Thousands more have permanent scarring or severe disfigurement from surgery.

To help parents and kids prevent future diagnoses of melanoma, we’re taking a multi-pronged approach to raising awareness and educating children and teens about sun safety.

We’re starting in places where we believe we can have the greatest impact—places where we find a lot of children outdoors at the peak UV season in Canada: at youth summer camps and schools.

We’re also going to meet kids where we know we’ll find them all year long: online. You’ll see this website evolve into an environment mainly for kids, where they can learn about sun safety in a fun way!

MYTH: A few sunburns here and there is not a big deal—it’s part of growing up.

FACT: Even a single blistering sun burn can double the chances of a future diagnosis of melanoma – any burn is a big deal.

We hope we can educate parents and guardians along the way because we know that we need all of you to help reinforce this change. We aim to challenge challenge YOU to model sun safe behaviours too. We have included some Q&A’s many parents have about sun safety and our program that we hope will be helpful.

MYTH: Don’t I need to get lots of sun exposure so I can maintain healthy vitamin D levels?

FACT: There are safer ways to maintain healthy vitamin D levels than through ultraviolet (UV) exposure. You can achieve the target levels of vitamin D through your diet and by taking a supplement.

The following sources are recommended sources of vitamin D: fatty fish, fish liver oil and egg yolk. Milk and margarine, soy milk, some fruit juices, cereals, yogurts and cheeses are also sources of vitamin D. Tanning beds are not a safe source of vitamin D!