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New Westminster taking a stand against skin cancer

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Free sunscreen was offered at Westminster Pier Park last summer as part of a pilot project between the City of New Westminster, the Save Your Skin Foundation and the BC Cancer Agency.

New Westminster is taking steps to highlight efforts to prevent skin cancer.

The City of New Westminster is one of 13 B.C. municipalities that have agreed to proclaim May as Melanoma Awareness Month. New West Mayor Jonathan Cote was the first to commit to proclaiming May as Melanoma Awareness month and challenged other B.C. municipalities to follow his example, said a press release from the Save Your Skin Foundation,

“Skin cancer is largely preventable, and yet there are more cases now than ever,” Cote said in a press release. “This is why as mayor of New Westminster, I’m happy to support this important initiative and challenge all B.C. municipalities to do the same.”

The Save Your Skin Foundation believes it is imperative that communities across Canada be reminded of the importance of sun safety at this time of year.

According to the foundation, there are more new cases of skin cancer each year than the number of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.

“Studies show that young people still aren’t taking sun safety seriously despite incidence rates rising every year,” says Kathy Barnard, a stage 4 melanoma survivor and founder of Save Your Skin Foundation. “Skin cancer can be deadly, but it is also highly preventable.”

While most forms of non-melanoma skin cancer can be surgically removed, the foundation states that melanoma is an aggressive form of cancer.

“The five-year relative survival rate of melanoma that has metastasized is just 18%,” states the press release. “Despite these figures, many people seek sun without taking the recommended precautionary measures, or believe that only severe burns contribute to ones risk of skin cancer. In fact, any darkening of the skin, including a tan, is indicative of UV damage.”

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