Tanning a dangerous fad that needs erasing

Melanoma on the rise despite simple ways to protect your skin

It wasn’t always like this. Historically, pale skin was considered a mark of wealth, leisure and social standing. For example, Nofret, the wife of a high priest in Ancient Egypt, used powders and lotions like myrrh and frankincense made from tree resins and used pigments like yellow ochre to make her skin pale and clear. Until the late 19th century, women continuing avoiding the sun or protecting their skin with hats and/or parasols, floor length dresses and long sleeves.

However, the trend to whiteness would come to a halt in the new century. If a single person could be credited for popularizing the “tan”, it would Coco Chanel, the designer who bronzed herself on a yacht in the Mediterranean and declared in 1929, “A girl simply has to be tanned.” It didn’t take long for celebrity males to pick up the trend and image of the tanned body spread. Ironically, within a few decades, bronzed skin, not pale skin, had come to represent money, leisure time and, in addition, good health and attractiveness.

Fast forward to 2014.  Decades of being overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning beds has resulted in skin cancer being one of the fastest rising of all cancers in Canada.

There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Most cases of skin cancer are either basal or squamous cell carcinomas. They tend to develop later on in life on areas of the body that have been exposed many times to the sun. They progress slowly and rarely cause death because they usually do not spread to other parts of the body. Although they are most often removed by surgery, they can cause scarring, disfigurement or loss of function in certain parts of the body. It is expected that over 76,000 news cases of these two types of skin cancer in Canada will be diagnosed this year.

Malignant melanomas are different. They are the type most likely to be fatal. Unlike other skin cancers, they happen earlier in life, develop on almost any part of the body and spread rapidly. It is especially hard to stop once it has spread to other parts of the body but it can be readily treated in its earliest stages. Over 6,500 new cases are expected to be diagnosed this year.

The rapid rise of skin cancers has become an important health problem with significant economic cost. Surveys show that people are spending more time in the sun without using the recommended forms of protection.

These include:

1. taking special precautions to prevent children from overexposure,

2. using sunscreen properly,

3. planning outdoor activities before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. when the sun is not at its strongest or at any time of the day when the UV index is 3 or less,

4. wearing protective clothing, hats and sunglasses and,

5. seeking shade.

Similarly, the practice of using tanning beds with their intense doses of UV radiation needs to be stopped.

Skin cancer is a largely preventable disease. With the onset of long awaited summer weather, the health professionals at the Agassiz Community Health Centre encourage you to be sun safe this summer.

– submitted by the Agassiz Community Health Centre

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace on the water

Harrison Lake was rather serene recently with the lack of usual traffic… Continue reading

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

20 dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

There were two new cases detected, according to the Lodge’s update

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

UPDATE: One person dead, two in critical condition after Highway 1 collision in Langley

A man and woman were taken to hospital in critical condition

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Most Read