Do you pay attention to the daily UV index when planning for the day ahead? It’s a good idea. In fact, the Canadian Cancer Society is urging people to pay attention to the daily UV index since results of a national survey reveal many Canadians are putting themselves at risk of skin cancer. The survey found 41 per cent of respondents don’t pay attention to the UV index at all. That index measures the strength of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays,
“Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is on the rise in Canada. About 90 per cent of melanoma cancer cases are due to UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds,” says Robert Nuttall, assistant director, health policy for the Canadian Cancer Society. “Now more than ever, we need to increase awareness of sun safety, so that fewer people will be impacted by skin cancer.”
The national omnibus survey revealed:
Men are more likely to ignore the daily UV index than women with 46 per cent of males saying they don’t pay attention to it, compared to 37 per cent of females.
Younger Canadians are least likely to pay attention to the UV index: 56 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds say they don’t pay attention to the UV index compared to 33 per cent of those aged 55 and older.
Five in ten (48 per cent) Canadians believe the sun is the safest source of vitamin D; 43 per cent of Canadians say getting a tan is important so they can get the vitamin D their body needs.
Young Canadians are more likely to believe the sun is an important source of vitamin D with 48 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds agreeing a tan is important to get the vitamin D their body needs, compared to 40 per cent of those aged 55 and older.
75 per cent of Canadians say that getting a little bit of colour from the sun makes them look healthier and 29 per cent of Canadians say they like to get a deep tan.
“Nobody is safe from the sun. Canadians need to know how to protect their skin by checking the UV index daily, covering up, wearing sunscreen and using safer sources of vitamin D such as supplements and diet,” says Nuttall.
The UV index, developed by Environment Canada, is included with the daily weather reports. The index ranges from zero to 11-plus. The higher the number of the index, the stronger the sun’s rays and the greater the risk of skin cancer, premature aging of the skin and damage to the eyes. When the index is three or higher, individuals should protect their skin as much as possible.
The Canadian Cancer Society recommends you reduce the time tyou spend in the sun when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, typically between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from April to September, or any time of the day when the UV index is 3 or more.
Cover up with a wide-brimmed hat, tightly woven or UV-protective clothing and UV-protective sunglasses, and wear broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. And never use indoor tanning equipment, including tanning beds and sun lamps.
For more information on sun safety visit cancer.ca/sunsafety.