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Skin cancer rates improving in Alberta: Study

It appears that Albertans are getting the message about the importance of protecting their skin from the sun.

It appears that Albertans are getting the message about the importance of protecting their skin from the sun.

Two University of Alberta students conducted the largest Canadian study on non-melanoma skin cancer, which includes basal cell carcinomas as well as squamous cell carcinomas, and the results were positive.

What researchers Andrei Metelitsa and Gordon Jung discovered was that skin cancer rates in Alberta are actually going down in men and have levelled off in women.

“What we noticed was a very interesting trend,” Metelitsa said. “While initially in the 1990s the numbers were increasing just as we expected, something happened in the year 2000. What has happened since then is we’ve noticed a stabilization and even a decrease in certain cancers.”

Metelitsa and Jung analyzed data collected over a 20-year period from nearly 100,000 patients diagnosed with the two most common cancers in the world.

After a rapid spike in the late 1980s and early ’90s, the number of cases has remained stable since 2000.

Metelitsa credits dermatologists, physicians and the media for getting the message across to protect yourself from sun exposure.

“Perhaps now we’re seeing a change in behaviour,” he said. “As a result, we’re seeing a change in incidents of these cancers.”

 
 
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