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Okanagan cities are popular summertime destinations, attracting visitors to their beaches, but this also brings risks associated with prolonged sun exposure. Penticton, one of the cities in British Columbia, has recognized the importance of sun protection and declared May as Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. To emphasize the significance of sunscreen, the city has installed sunscreen dispensers at various locations for public use. These dispensers provide free, Health Canada approved SPF 30 sunscreen that is zinc oxide based and free from harmful chemicals and allergens. Penticton Mayor Julius Bloomfield highlighted the importance of sun protection and encouraged residents and visitors to use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.

Studies have shown that despite the increasing rates of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, many young people are not taking sun safety seriously. Kathy Barnard, a stage 4 melanoma survivor and founder of Save Your Skin Foundation, emphasized the importance of sun protection and prevention, noting that skin cancer is not only deadly but also highly preventable. In 2022, over 80,000 Canadians were diagnosed with skin cancer, with 8,700 new cases of melanoma and over 1,300 deaths due to melanoma. Despite these alarming statistics, many Canadians continue to spend time in the sun without practicing recommended sun safety measures. The efforts to increase awareness and provide free sunscreen dispensers in Penticton aim to promote sun protection and reduce the risks associated with sun exposure.

The sunscreen dispensers in Penticton are located at key spots such as Tourism Penticton, the Penticton Chamber of Commerce, Barefoot Beach Resort, Skaha Meadows Golf Course, and Penticton Speedway. These automatic and touchless dispensers aim to make it convenient for the public to access sunscreen and protect their skin while enjoying outdoor activities. The sunscreen provided is carefully selected to be safe and effective, avoiding harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, retinyl palmitate, and others. By offering free, high-quality sunscreen at these locations, Penticton hopes to encourage residents and visitors to prioritize sun protection and reduce their risk of skin cancer.

The initiative in Penticton to raise awareness about melanoma and skin cancer, as well as provide free sunscreen dispensers, is part of a broader effort to promote sun safety and prevent skin damage. By acknowledging the risks of sun exposure and taking proactive steps to protect the community, Penticton is setting an example for other cities and regions. The collaboration with Save Your Skin Foundation, led by a melanoma survivor, demonstrates the importance of education and prevention in combating skin cancer. With the support of local businesses and organizations, Penticton is working towards creating a safer and more sun-conscious environment for its residents and visitors.

As the temperatures rise and summer approaches, it is crucial for individuals to prioritize sun protection and take necessary precautions to prevent skin damage. The availability of free sunscreen dispensers in Penticton serves as a reminder for the public to be mindful of their skin health while enjoying outdoor activities. By making sunscreen easily accessible and raising awareness about the risks of skin cancer, Penticton hopes to encourage a culture of sun safety and reduce the incidence of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer in the community. Through collaborative efforts and public education, cities like Penticton are taking proactive steps to protect the health and well-being of their residents and visitors during the summer months.

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