Public perceptions of the issue of exposure to UVR and cancer

Access survey data on Canadians’ perceptions of solar and artificial ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure and cancer risk

Access survey data on Canadians’ perceptions of solar and artificial ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure and cancer risk

Inside this UVR policy pack

How does the public perceive this issue?

Skin cancer is one of the leading concerns among Canadians when exposing themselves to the sun and most Canadians agree that sun protection is important.

  • A 2017 survey of Canadians aged 16 + conducted by the Canadian Dermatology Association on sun awareness 1 indicated that:
    • sunburn (62%) and increased risk of skin cancer (61%) are the leading concerns among Canadians when exposing themselves to the sun
    • 33% of Canadians indicate that having a tan is important to them
    • 49% of Canadians agree that a good tan gives the impression that you are in good health
    • 24% of Canadians agree the dangers of sun exposure are exaggerated
    • 65% of Canadians enjoy being in the sun despite the risks
    • 93% of Canadians agree that it is essential to protect your skin from the sun

Little data exists at the national level related to public perceptions on artificial UVR exposure and cancer.

  • A survey of Ontario adolescents in grades 7-12 implemented one year following the implementation of Ontario’s Skin Cancer Prevention Act (2014)2 indicated that:
    • Of the adolescents surveyed (both tanning bed users and not tanning bed users) 16% believed that using tanning equipment was safer than getting a tan in the sun and 15% believed that tanning was not harmful to their health.
      • Of those who used tanning equipment, 37% thought that using a tanning bed/lamp was less risky than getting a tan in the sun (increased from 34% at the time of implementation) and 35% believed that it’s not harmful to their health.
      • Even among those used tanning equipment, the majority were aware of the health risks, but continue to tan.

Little data exists at the national level related to outdoor workers’ perceptions of solar and artificial UVR exposure and cancer.

  • A 1996 Canadian National Survey on Sun Exposure & Protective Behaviours indicated that 34% of outdoor workers are unconcerned about sun exposure.3

References

1 Canadian Dermatology Association. (2017). Sun Awareness Survey. Retrieved from: https://dermatology.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/CDA-Sun-Awareness-Survey-2017.pdf

2 Ontario Sun Safety Working Group. (2017). An Assessment of the first year of a ban on tanning bed and lamps among adolescents in Ontario, Canada. Retrieved from: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/e70f30_fbf44b15e44248ed91f533651dd52be2.pdf

3 Shoveller, J. A., Lovato, C. Y., Peters, L., Rivers, J. K. (2000). A Canadian national survey on sun exposure & protective behaviours: Outdoor workers. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 91(1). Retrieved from:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12550125_Canadian_National_Survey_on_Sun_Exposure_Protective_Behaviours_Outdoor_workers