When it comes to sun, as Vancouver residents will begrudgingly tell you, not everywhere in Canada is created equal.
Now, new info from Stats Canada shows exactly where you are most –and least- likely to get a blistering sunburn.
Depending on the way you take it, this is either bragging rights or…oh let’s be honest, in Canada it’s bragging rights, so let’s get to it. Oh, and when we say new, we mean old. The info Stats Canada complied is from 1980 to 1990. You remember, the halcyon days before Moose Jaw or Medicine Hat became the sweltering hellfires they are today.
First of all, if you live in Toronto you are more likely to get a sunburn than those people from Montreal. So that should make up for the half-dozen or so Stanley Cups they have won since 1967, right?
And Calgarians? You are more likely to get burned than Edmontonians. So, you know. Same story.
The pattern here is that the more northerly climes come with a lesser UV risk that generally gets gradually higher as you move south. Canada’s UV peak, in the 7500 J/m2 range, is the southeast corner of BC.
According to Stats Canada melanoma skin cancer is among the top 10 most common types of cancer in Canada.
“Generally speaking, the risk of developing melanoma is higher for men than for women. Women living in regions with higher UVR levels are doing more than men are to protect themselves against the harmful effects of sun exposure,” says the report.
Another study by the Canadian Cancer Society found that around 41% of Canadians ignore daily UV levels.
“Canadians can do a lot to protect themselves against the harmful effects of UVR (Ultra Violet Radiation) exposure by limiting their time in the sun, using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing to avoid sunburns,” continues the report.
But most of us simply aren’t doing it, especially men. Just 29% of Canadian men use sunscreen on their face and 26% apply sunscreen to their bodies compare to 63% and 51% respectively for women.
Statistics also showed that rates were higher amongst those with outdoor occupations, lower levels of education, and those with a lower income level.
Another separate study was done by Statistics Canada in January of this year which looked at the use of tanning beds in Canada. It found that over 1.35 million Canadians use tanning beds, which give off five times the amount of skin damaging radiation that the sun does. Many of those who were using tanning beds said it was to help them get a “base tan” to protect them from sunburn.
“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,” said Robert Nuttall the Canadian Cancer Society assistant director to the CBC.