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Ultraviolet (UV) protection – community strategies

If we are overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or from artificial sources (e.g., indoor tanning), we can increase our risk of skin cancer. A study in Alberta found that UV radiation exposure may account for 82% of melanoma cases in the province.1

Protecting ourselves from excess UV exposure can support health and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. UV protection can be positively influenced by community environments.

When our communities implement multi-component community-wide interventions, they are better able to strengthen four action areas: the social environment, the physical environment, the economic environment and the policy environment. These action areas are supported by community leadership and learning from experience.

Multi-component community-wide interventions to reduce UV exposure could include encouraging municipal councils to provide permanent or portable shade structures in playgrounds and parks and during community events. This strategy could be supported by initiatives to raise awareness about UV exposure and encourage the use of sunscreen and protective clothing. 

Although multi-component community-wide interventions are ideal, communities need to start where they are at! This may mean starting with one strategy, environment or setting and then building on it as you move towards thinking broadly about UV exposure and protection.

Ways to take action

All of the evidence-informed strategies are tried, tested and useful strategies that are based on current research. See the methods section for more information on how these strategies were developed.