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Melanoma on the rise: TSN host Gareth Wheeler's "dance with the disease"

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Rachel Schoutsen
Presenter, The Weather Network

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 12:46 PM -

*WARNING: The video above contains graphic content*

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, however it is also the most preventable. 

As Canadians, we are gearing up for another summer and that means you should be thinking about skin protection. 

Robert Nuttall, Director of Cancer Control Policy from the Canadian Cancer Society, told The Weather Network that "Melanoma skin cancer rates are rising in Canada. When we look back over the past 25 years we see that rates are rising about 2% for men and 1.5% for women." 

You can reduce your chances of getting melanoma by using sun screen this summer. Broad spectrum is recommended with a SPF of 30 or higher, and refrain from using tanning beds and limiting your time in the sun. 

"You should also check with weather stations to find out the UV reading. When the index is above 3 that's when we see a concern and you should reduce your time in the sunshine," Nuttall says. 

Melanoma is real and thousands of Canadians are faced with the diagnosis each year. 

Almost a decade ago, popular TSN radio host Gareth Wheeler, was faced with his own diagnosis of melanoma. 

Image: Gareth Wheeler

Image: Gareth Wheeler

"My world was turned upside down, I never thought I would have melanoma," Wheeler told The Weather Network. 

Wheeler knows more than anyone how aggressive this cancer can be. After his first diagnosis, with the proper treatment, he thought he was out of the woods and that melanoma would be a part of his past. 

But unfortunately, Wheeler told The Weather Network that, " three and a half years later another bump showed up on my leg. And in a matter of 14 months I had 8-9 tumours removed from my leg. Some the size of golf balls, all different colours and sizes." 

Wheeler decided to head stateside in order to try new methods of treatment. He used traditional and non traditional practices and so far these have proved successful. 

He also mentioned that he removed sugars from his diet and is now vegan. 

"I feel like I am in a dance with the disease and I am continuing to monitor my health. Seeing melanoma develop in my body, to say that was scary is an understatement," Wheeler adds. 

Melanoma accounts for 80 per cent of all skin cancer deaths. Protect yourself this summer. Stay out of tanning beds and wear sunscreen. 


MELANOMA ON THE RISE: It's increasingly common in Canada, and prevention is key. See how it works in the video below (WARNING: Graphic content).


UV Rays: The science behind sunburns
Protect yourself: Cases of skin cancer in Canada on the rise
Four reasons to exercise before the sun comes up

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