For Immediate Release:
May 1, 2012

LHSC welcomes the warmer weather with some sun safety advice


(LONDON, Ontario) – May is national melanoma awareness month. It is also the time of year where the days start to get longer and the weather warmer. Dr. Scott Ernst, Head of Medical Oncology at London Health Sciences Centre's London Regional Cancer Program, reminds people that as we welcome the rising temperatures, sun protection and skin surveillance should be top-of-mind.

"Melanoma is one of the most rapidly rising cancers," says Dr. Ernst. "It's expected that there will be 5,500 new cases in Canada this year. While genetics plays a significant role in development of melanoma, intermittent and chronic sun exposure is an important risk factor for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. There are a lot of simple, practical things that people can do to protect themselves and reduce their risk of developing melanoma."

Practical sun safety tips that should be applied year-round include:

  • Limit exposure to the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear a hat and protective clothing
  • Use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 on all exposed skin
  • Sunscreen should be reapplied every couple hours or following exposure to water or excessive sweating

Dr. Ernst notes that, "it's important to remember that all skin types are vulnerable to sun damage. You can have sun damage without the presence of a sunburn."

In addition to sun protection, skin surveillance is an important practice that people should adopt. People should regularly monitor their skin, including their backs, and check for any additions or changes in birthmarks, beauty marks, moles, etc. Even subtle changes in size, shape or colour can be a sign of a problem and should be brought to the attention of your doctor.

"Spring is an ideal time to remind people of the critical importance of sun protection and skin surveillance. It's the time of year when many people begin to spend more time outdoors. Although skin never forgets, it's never too late to begin to practice safe sun habits," says Dr. Ernst.

LHSC's London Regional Cancer Program will be hosting a free public education
session on the prevention and detection of melanoma in partnership with the Middlesex-London Health Unit on Wednesday, May 16. More information about that session will be available in the coming weeks.

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit


For media inquiries contact:

Mandy Gelinas

Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
(519) 685-8500 ext. 75157