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Skin Cancer Prevention Act will help protect young Ontarians

As someone who lost a close family member to melanoma in 2007, Toronto health lawyer Elyse Sunshine is thrilled the provincial government has passed the Skin Cancer Prevention Act with a unanimous vote.

Sunshine sits on the board of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, a registered charity that raises awareness of the most deadly type of skin cancer with programs aimed at prevention and early detection, as well as support for research initiatives. The charity is named after her step-brother, who lost his fight with melanoma in 2007 at the age of 32.
Cornfield fought a hard battle, and now his family, friends and colleagues continue to honour his memory by saving others – that included a video, Dear 16 Year-Old Me, that went viral on the Internet.

“I am thrilled that Ontario has followed other provinces and passed the Skin Cancer Prevention Act both as a lawyer and as someone whose family was impacted by melanoma,” says Sunshine, partner with Rosen Sunshine LLP. “It is much-needed legislation in this province."

Studies show that one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer, and upwards of 90 per cent are caused by UV radiation, says Sunshine. Rates of skin cancer have increased at an alarming rate in developed countries, including Canada, where 80,000 new skin cancers are diagnosed in Canada every year.

Melanoma, the most aggressive and dangerous of skin cancers, is one of the most common cancers among young adults, aged 15 to 29.

The legislation will prohibit anyone under the age of 18 to use tanning beds, a move that Sunshine says, “will be instrumental in protecting the youth of our province from this deadly form of cancer and will also hopefully, raise awareness in adults over the age of 18 and cause them to reconsider a decision to expose themselves to the documented dangers of recreational tanning bed use.

“It is well established that the skin of children and youth is more sensitive to UV radiation than that of adults,” says Sunshine. “As a result, anyone under 18 is at an even greater risk of developing cancer when exposed to UV."

Studies show that the risk of melanoma is increased by 75 per cent when the use of tanning devices starts before the age of 35, says Sunshine.

“Skin cancer and in particular, melanoma, is a devastating disease. No family should have to watch their loved one suffer or lose their loved one to this deadly disease.”

To Read More Elyse Sunshine Posts Click Here
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