Canucks' JT Miller partners with charity to promote skin cancer awareness
Vancouver Canucks forward JT Miller is partnering with the Save Your Skin Foundation to promote melanoma and skin cancer awareness.
In 2020, over 80,000 Canadians were diagnosed with skin cancers and over 1,300 lost their lives to melanoma. According to recent survey data, 1-in-4 Canadians are unaware that spending more time in the sun increases their risk of skin cancer; and more than half of Canadians do not realize a small amount of sun exposure without protection can lead to melanoma.
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that begins in the cells that control the pigment in your skin. While it's identified as the deadliest form of skin cancer, the exact cause of all melanomas still isn't clear. Aside from appearing on the skin, melanoma can also form in your eyes and, rarely, inside the body, such as in the nose or throat.
JT Miller's wife Natalie lost her mother to advanced melanoma last fall -- prompting the family to get involved with Save Your Skin Foundation and help spread awareness of the deadly illness.
"My wife lost her mother to melanoma last year. She was just 58 years old," said Miller in a statement. "I want everyone to understand just how important it is to protect your skin from the sun. Skin cancer can happen to anyone and it can be very serious."
Miller recently sponsored the Save Your Skin Foundation's 'Giving Hope Gala' on April 29th and will be sharing messages of skin cancer prevention and early detection on his social media throughout the month. The Gala saw patients and survivors from across Canada come together, along with other cancer care stakeholders, while raising funds for cancer research.
Kathy Barnard -- stage 4 melanoma survivor and Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation -- says COVID-19 has highlighted everyone’s willingness to take drastic measures to preserve public health, and that building skin cancer awareness is imperative.
“Increased preventative efforts and methods of early detection," said Barnard. "Particularly in the form of public education are needed to reduce skin cancer rates.”
The risk of melanoma seems to be increasing in people under 40, especially women. Knowing the warning signs of skin cancer can help ensure that changes are detected and treated before the cancer has spread.