Sun Awareness Week from Island Health

Island Health

Press Release

Monday, June 2 2014

Island Health, the Canadian Cancer Society and Save Your Skin Foundation are joining forces this summer to help prevent skin cancer. The Sun Smart campaign is intended to educate Vancouver Island residents about sun safety and the importance of skin protection while enjoying outdoor activities.

Sun Awareness Week from June 2nd to 8th marks the debut of the campaign. The three organizations will share displays at community events from June through August to provide sun safety information and interactive games that shed light on some of the most common myths about tanning and sun safety. 

“There are many misconceptions about skin protection,” said Nancy Falconer, Health Promotion Coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society. “Even though skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancers, it’s the most common cancer in Canada. It’s our hope that by combining efforts through this partnership, we can reach more people and prevent cancer before it starts.” 

The first stop for the team will be at the Multicultural Festival in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter on June 14, running from 10:30am to 3:30pm.    

“We’re lucky on Vancouver Island to have a climate that allows us to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. However, overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays causes skin damage that can lead to skin cancer,” said Dr. Paul Hasselback, the Medical Health Officer from Island Health. “Even on a cloudy day in summer, you still need sun protection because up to 80% of the UV radiation passes through light cloud cover.” 

Vancouver Island residents can find out the location and date of the Sun Smart displays through Facebook and Twitter for the three organizations. The team will be active at community festivals in Nanaimo, Campbell River, Comox Valley, Oceanside and Cowichan Valley. Information will be updated as new events are added. 

“There are many myths regarding the use of sunscreen, tanning and UV rays,” explained Kathleen Barnard, President of Save Your Skin Foundation. “Together, with Island Health and the Canadian Cancer Society, we’re hoping to debunk common myths and proactively educate the public about the facts”. 

Island residents are reminded to:

• Limit their time in the direct sunlight between 11am and 4pm.

• Cover up with a hat, sunglasses, and loose fitting clothing.

• Seek shade.

• Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen.

• Don’t use indoor tanning.