skin cancer | Melanoma on the rise in Canada

Melanoma is on the rise in the country, a study from McGill University shows. But while more Canadians are developing this form of skin cancer, fewer are dying from it. Here are six highlights from the report.

Posted at 7:07pm

Henia Ould-Hammou

Henia Ould-Hammou
The press

Declining mortality rate

For the first time since 2013, the death rate from melanoma in Canada has fallen, the study says. McGill University researchers believe this decline is the result of new targeted immunotherapy treatments. For comparison, the global death rate increased by 32% between 2008 and 2018.

Rising incidence rate

In Canada, the number of skin cancer cases increases by 0.5 per 100,000 people each year. Between 1992 and 2010, the incidence rate was 12.29 per 100,000 population; it shows 20.75 between 2011 and 2017.

According to the report, climate change and depletion of the ozone layer could explain these incidence rates, which are expected to continue increasing.

People over 60 years of age, a risk group

People over the age of 60 are most at risk of developing melanoma. According to Dright Ivan Litvinov, one of the study’s researchers and an assistant professor at McGill University School of Medicine, says the risk of developing skin cancer is related to age. The number of sunburns suffered during adolescence, 20’s and 30’s (cumulative exposure to ultraviolet rays) also plays a role.

Younger people are also at risk of contracting the disease, the Dright Litvinov. Place of residence, personal history and heredity also play a role.

men more affected

More men than women are affected by melanoma, namely 54% versus 46%. However, this rate excludes cases of melanoma occurring on the fingers. This type of cancer mainly affects women.

“This difference is probably due to the increased UV radiation in nail salons,” notes Dr.right Litvinov.

In women, skin cancer affects more legs and arms. In men, the neck, head, and trunk are most affected.

“Men tend to be more exposed to the sun and use less sunscreen than women,” explains the McGill University professor. Women tend to wear more shorts and skirts. Their longer hair, their makeup, and the sunscreen they use naturally protect them more from the sun. »

Residence: a factor

Melanoma affects more people living in the southern and coastal regions of the country. The highest mortality and incidence rates were recorded in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Southern Ontario, New Brunswick, and southern British Columbia also have high incidence rates. These numbers are related to dangerous behavior related to sun exposure, specifies the Dright Litvinov.

“In these areas there are more opportunities for people to sunbathe. Watersports clothing should be standard practice. People use sunscreen, but probably not often enough. As a dermatologist, I advise my patients to get outside, but not to tan. »

Quebec excluded

The national study, led by McGill University, includes data from all Canadian provinces except Quebec. The beautiful province was excluded because “Quebec’s cancer registry did not publish any data after 2010,” the study underlines.

This delay in releasing data has already been criticized by the Department of Health and Human Services. Sent in an email to The pressthe ministry claims that “work is underway to publish the more recent data”.

“We don’t have data for Quebec from 2010 to 2017,” says the Dright Litvinov. But what applies to the other provinces should also apply to Quebec. »

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