May 28, 2014 7:16 pm

‘Most preventable cancer’ on the rise in Saskatchewan

REGINA – The Canadian Cancer Society is out with its annual report and this year melanoma rates are raising alarm bells in Saskatchewan.

While many cancers in Canada are decreasing, the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer is on the rise.

“Deaths rates for prostate, colorectal, breast are all declining,” said Donna Ziegler with the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan.

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This year, 140 people in Saskatchewan are estimated to be diagnosed with melanoma, which is more than the number of confirmed cases in each year from 2005 to 2008.

“We are below the national average, but our trend is increasing,” said Ziegler.

The report estimates 25 people in Saskatchewan will die from melanoma this year.

Chris Thompson was diagnosed with melanoma in 2005. He was at the doctor’s office for an unrelated reason when it was suggested he get a mole removed.

“Mine was about half the size of my little finger nail… light brown on the outside but very dark on the inside with unusual edges,” said Thompson.

In an effort to reduce skin cancer rates, the cancer society has been pushing for an all-out provincial ban on young people from using indoor tanning beds, which is something seven other provinces have already done.

“At this point though, I’m still more interested in a parental consent model like Manitoba,” said Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan’s health minister.

With these latest numbers suggesting skin cancer campaigns aren’t doing the trick, the society says it’s reviewing how to better get its message out.

“Unfortunately some people need to have a personal scare or a story to change their behaviour,” said Thompson.

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