Some would say the May long weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, which means prolonged exposure to UV rays.
Although the thought of extended time in the sun is a joy to some, it raises concern for BC Cancer Dermatologist Harvey Lui.
“The main risk we’re concerned about is ultra-violet exposure which could happen as outdoor activities pick up in the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District. Ultra-violet sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer”
So what can we do to reduce our risk to the potentially harmful rays that are upon us in the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District? Lui says the steps are simple.
“Step one, is to think about when you will be outdoors. You should time your activities so you are not in the core of the heat between 11-3, if at all possible. If you have to be out during these hours, seek as much shade as you possibly can. Step two is to protect yourself with clothing. We’re not saying cover up to the point where you are dehydrating yourself, but a hat and long sleeves are recommended. Step three and your final line of defense against the sun is obviously sunscreen. Don’t ruin your long weekend, stay protected and this will ensure healthier skin in the long run.”
It is said that 1 in 5 Canadians will be impacted by skin cancer in their life, a number that worries Lui.
“That statistic is a huge number and means literally everyone is at risk. It’s not just children and the elderly that have to be cautious and that’s what we want people to be aware of. If you spot something new or changing on your skin, report it to your doctor or physician because everyone and anyone is at risk of getting skin cancer.”
More on BC Cancer can be found here.