World Melanoma Day

World Melanoma Day is recognized on the second Monday of May around the world to highlight the growing prevalence of malignant melanoma.

On Monday May 14th, 2018, the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) hosted its first Facebook Live event on the occasion of World Melanoma Day where Dr. Julie Powell and Dr. Jennifer Beecker answered your questions about melanoma and skin cancer prevention.

World Melanoma Day

The CDA previously hosted skin cancer screening clinics and receptions on Parliament Hill for MPs, and lobbied with other organizations for a ban on tanning bed usage by minors. Currently, every province in Canada (and two out of three territories) prohibits the use of tanning equipment by people under the age of 18 or 19.

Ban on Tanning Bed Usage by Minors Across Canada

With this shared success for the safety of Canadians, the CDA continues to advocate for sun safety and skin cancer prevention.

Check Early, Check Often

While people may be unsure how best to check their skin, using the “ABCDEs” is a simple way to remember the key characteristics that could identify a potential case of melanoma:

ABCDE of Melanoma

A- “Asymmetry” – the shape of a mole is different on one side

B- “Border” – the borders of the mole are irregular, jagged and imprecise

C- “Colour” – mole colour varies with brown, black, red, grey or white areas within the lesion

D- “Diameter” – growth is typical of melanoma

E- “Evolution” – a mole has changed

Minimize Your Melanoma Risk

Remember to practice the following sun-safe behaviours:

Seek shade between 11:00am to 3:00pm

Wearing protective clothing, a wide brimmed hat, and UV-protective sunglasses

Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30

A Growing Problem

Incidence rates of melanoma have increased in both men and women over the past several decades, growing 2.1% per year in men from 1992 to 2013, and 2.0% per year among women for the same time period.

While increasing incidence rates are a cause for concern, the five-year survival rate of melanoma is second only to thyroid cancer, with females having a 92% survival rate, and males, 85%.

Early detection is key, and everyone should regularly perform a skin evaluation; consider asking your partner to check areas that can be hard to see on your own (back, neck, etc). You should see a certified dermatologist if you spot something suspicious.

The Canadian Dermatology Association supports the use of sunscreen as an effective and safe means to provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays. There is strong scientific evidence of the adverse effects of UV exposure in contrast to the hypothetical negative effects of sunscreen on your health. Seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad spectrum sunscreen all help in providing safe sun protection.