Children getting a sunburn can set the stage for skin cancer issues when they are adults. - Image Credit: Contributed

B.C. doctor shines a light on ways to protect yourself from the sun

Dr. Parveen Bhatti says sunscreen isn’t all that’s needed to shield you from harmful UV rays

A BC Cancer’s doctor wants to shed some light on the dangers of UV Rays.

Dr. Parveen Bhatti, BC Cancer’s scientific director of cancer prevention is also encouraging residents to add another option to their sun safety regimen.

“Even though sunscreen is important, it isn’t the only thing to help protect yourself from the sun, protective clothing is also important and working your schedule around the peak hours of sunlight,” Bhatti said.

READ MORE: Kelowna doctor warns against tanning as skin cancer rates rise

Wearing long sleeves, hats and other UV-protective clothing can help reduce the risk of skin damage.

“I think it’s hard for people to get into a good routine of putting on sunscreen and altering their clothing to protect themselves from harmful UV Rays,” Bhatti said.

He says this could be because we are such a sun-seeking culture.

“People tend to see the sun and want to go tanning and use tanning beds, but what a lot of people don’t know is when the skin tans, it is a sign of it being damaged,” Bhatti said.

He acknowledged that though there isn’t a lot of science behind spray tanning and tanning creams, what scientists know now, is it is the better of the two options.

More than 1,300 people in B.C. will be diagnosed with melanoma this year; a number that will rise by 26 per cent over the next five years.

READ MORE: Preventing skin cancer

Bhatti says a reason for this many diagnoses could because people of the older generations were aware of the harmful effects of the sun and didn’t take the steps to protect themselves.

“We hope to see by spreading awareness of skin cancer and the dangers of UV rays, we will see a decline in the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer in future years,” Bhatti said.

He reminds people it never hurts to get consistently checked by a physician if you feel you could have an abnormal mole or change in the texture or tone of your skin.


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