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JCTA Review of Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014 Report

Friday, May 30, 2014
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JCTA Review of Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014 Report

The Joint Canadian Tanning Association would like to respond to the Canadian Cancer Society’s release of the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014 report and its special focus on skin cancer.

Melanoma is a very serious disease and we feel compassion for those that have fallen ill due to this terrible disease. New research is urgently required to determine how melanomas develop. What role or risk does UV represent? It’s the JCTA’s position that burning exposure from UV is the risk, whether that is from the sun or sunbeds.

The statement that ‘UV radiation causes about 90% of melanoma cases’ needs to be re-evaluated by scientists. The 90% is based on outdated research from 1 paper from 1993 which could not accurately predict the population attributable risk factor by comparing melanoma rates in people that had been exposed to sun and those not exposed. Since that time varying hypothesis have been put forward which splits melanoma into different types with different underlying causes and risks.

The 2002 discovery of BRAF mutations and their role in melanoma have raised doubt as to the importance that UV plays in melanoma. BRAF mutations are found in over 50% of melanoma cases according to Cancer Research UK. The BRAF mutation bears DNA changes that appear not to be caused by UV.

Unprotected UV exposure overall has been dropping for the last 30 years. People work less outdoors and spend less time outdoors. When people are outside many use sunscreen, which blocks UV penetration. How can UV cause 90% of melanomas when UV exposure is decreasing and melanoma incidence rates are increasing? Could there be other genetic causes? Something to consider…

This might help explain why chronic UV exposure provides a reduced risk of melanoma.

Melanoma rates were much higher prior to the tanning bed being introduced to Canada. In fact, from 1970 to 1986 the Annual Percent Change (APC) for males was 6.0 and females was 4.6. The ACP in the 2014 report state 2.2 for Males and 2.6 for Females. The mortality rate in 1989 were 2.1 per 100,000 and the mortality rate for 2014 was 2.2, and that 0.1 change seems to related to men over 50 and an aging population. Non-melanoma skin cancers, according to the report, are the same as the 2004 estimates.

 The indoor tanning industry will continue to push government for professional standards, like industry trained and certified operators controlling the equipment, and restrictions for under 18 and Skin type 1. This will reduce the risk of overexposure/sunburn to UV light.

Steven Gilroy

Executive Director for the JCTA

Contact Information P: 1.800.915.0367 E: