Media Release

Canadian Cancer Society launches sun safety programming for daycares across Canada


May is Melanoma Awareness Month, an important time to raise awareness about skin cancer and spotlight the benefits of being sun safe all year round to reduce cancer risk. This month, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is excited to announce that it will be expanding its SunSense program to offer free tools, training, and resources to daycares.  

Too much direct sun exposure can lead to an increased risk of melanoma and about 65% of melanoma cases in Canada are due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The best way to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer is to protect your skin from an early age, which is why CCS started SunSense – a national sun safety program that offers information and resources to schools to support the creation of sun safe environments and protect children from the harms of ultraviolet radiation.  

“Learning about sun safety and enjoying the outdoors in a healthy and safe way is an essential part of every child’s education and development,” says Nancy Wirtz, Manager of Cancer Prevention, CCS. “We’re proud that we can provide daycares with helpful tools and resources that will enable more children to learn how to protect their skin and encourage families to establish long-term routines that foster sun safe behaviour.” 

SunSense for Daycares has been developed in partnership with Melanoma Canada, and with support and funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada, BC Cancer, SunSmart Saskatchewan/Saskatechwan Cancer Agency, PE Aquafarms, the Government of Newfoundland, and La Roche Posay. Through a full suite of resources, the program will educate even more parents, children and staff about sun safety, and provide daycares the opportunity to become SunSense certified.  

“Melanoma Canada is proud to partner with CCS to develop and promote the SunSense for Daycares program. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in young Canadians, and one of few cancers that can be prevented,” says Falyn Katz, CEO, Melanoma Canada. “With this program we hope to curb the rising trend of melanoma and skin cancer diagnoses in Canada, and together with CCS we hope to have developed a program that allows daycares, educators, and caregivers to instill sun safe behaviours that carry through a child’s lifetime.” 

One person who understands the value of teaching children about the importance of sun safety from a young age is Julie Stanley. Julie was 39 years old when she was diagnosed with skin cancer, and her youngest child of 5 was just 3 months old. Her dermatologist found Lentigo Maligna on her arm from years of sun exposure. Today, she continues to have sunspots removed. Now a mother of 5 and grandmother to her daughter's 4 children, she strongly believes that helping families to learn about the harms of UV radiation and explaining ways that they can reduce sun exposure will help to protect children throughout their lives. 

“When I found out I had skin cancer, I felt alone. Skin cancer can affect anyone - and UV radiation begins to increase your risk of developing skin cancer early in life. As my grandchildren begin their schooling, it is important for them to understand this risk,” says Julie. “Programs like SunSense are great because they educate children about sun safety in a fun and accessible way, so they can nurture healthy habits and learn how to protect their skin.” 

In addition to launching SunSense for Daycares, CCS is kicking off its SunSense Challenge for Schools this month in partnership with Melanoma Canada. Registered schools that take part in educational activities that promote sun safety during the month of May have the chance to win a custom shade structure for their school from Shade Sails Canada and FLX Shade, which is valued at over $20,000. 

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, yet it is also one of the most preventable. 1 in 48 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. Together, we could prevent about 12,000 melanoma cases by 2042 if more Canadians practiced sun safety.  

To learn more about the SunSense program, visit To enroll your daycare in the SunSense program, complete this daycare registration form. To take part in the SunSense Challenge this month, register your school by completing this school registration form.  

About the Canadian Cancer Society  
The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We raise funds to fuel the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, across Canada and for all types of cancer. Together with patients, supporters, donors and volunteers, we work to create a healthier future for everyone. Because to take on cancer, it takes all of us. It takes a society.  

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today. 

For more information, please contact:  
Michelle Bilton 
Communications Coordinator 
(437) 266-2493 Ext. 23128