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NATIONAL SUN AWARENESS WEEK

 

Hon. Yonah Martin: Honourable senators, as we reconvene during these last few weeks of spring, after a long, cold Ottawa winter, we are all eager to go outdoors, enjoy the sunshine and take in the majestic landscape of our great nation. The warm summer months offer what seems like endless moments of peace and serenity as we enjoy long days under the sun.

Unfortunately, these moments of peace and serenity can turn into moments of fear and pain after years of unprotected exposure to harsh ultraviolet radiation, the main cause of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada and around the world. This year, more than 75,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, and approximately 5,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma, from which 940 will die.

Honourable senators, the dangers associated with prolonged sun exposure are even greater for young Canadians who face a two- to three-times higher lifetime risk of skin cancer. For those young Canadians born in the 1990s, there is a 1 in 6 lifetime risk of having skin cancer; and for those born in the 1960s, there is a 1 in 20 lifetime risk.

Fortunately, Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the precautions that they may take to prevent skin cancer due in large part to the efforts of the Canadian Dermatology Association. June 8 marks the beginning of the association's twenty-first National Sun Awareness Week. National Sun Awareness Week is a week-long educational campaign that promotes awareness of the early signs of skin cancer and highlights risk factors through free public skin cancer screening events in cities and towns across the country.

Today, between five and seven o'clock, the Canadian Dermatology Association will visit Parliament Hill to host the third annual Chuck Cadman Memorial Skin Cancer Screening and reception. I encourage all honourable senators and their staff to take a few moments to honour the late member of Parliament by attending the reception co-hosted by me and his widow and my B.C. colleague, Dona Cadman. Take part in the screening and learn how to protect yourself and your family.

Skin cancers are highly preventable, and early detection is linked directly to high survival rates. Before heading out into the sun this summer to enjoy all that our country has to offer, know the risks, be vigilant and take the time to protect yourself against prolonged exposure to the sun.

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