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

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

‘This was my baby’: Music teacher to retire after 29 years at Kent Elementary

Brenda Di Rezze will be saying goodbye to her music room at the end of this school year

LETTER: Harrison needs trees, not a new parking lot

Harrison resident Janne Perrin reminds council that trees are important too

UPDATE: Two young Chilliwack men facing at least five years jail for armed robbery

Darius Commodore and Jaimal Mclaren face 13 charges in Mission/Agassiz incident involving police dog

Harrison pay parking begins Saturday

Drivers will be charged an hourly rate for their parking spots from June 15 to Sept. 15

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

Most Read