The full-on arrival of the dog days of summer and the new craze of Pokemon Go mean it’s crucial for kids to understand the importance of sun protection and sun safety behaviors when they’re outside.
With that in mind, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the CATCH Global Foundation are reminding parents – and teachers, in the run-up to a new school year -- about skin cancer prevention.
"Like all life-long health behaviors, sun safety education and prevention needs to start early. Burns in childhood increase a person's risk of ending up among the estimated 1 in 5 people who will develop skin cancer in their lifetime,” said Duncan Van Dusen, executive director of the Texas-based CATCH Global Foundation. “Throughout the country, melanoma incidence continues to rise. Texas ranks fifth in the number of new cases of melanoma. That's why we are working with MD Anderson.”
A new curriculum will be offered for schools on the topic. Developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center, the curriculum aims to educate teachers, parents and children about sun protection and promote sun safety behaviors to reduce children’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. The number of new cases of melanoma, the most fatal type of skin cancer, continues to increase each year, with over 76,000 new cases expected in 2016. Meanwhile, being sunburned at least one time during childhood doubles the future risk of melanoma. At least half of children and adolescents report one or more sunburns per year.
To promote sun safety behaviors, the foundation, MD Anderson and the “Sunbeatables” educational program offers the following tips:
--Cover up by wearing wide-brimmed hats and protective clothing.
--Use SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm and reapply regularly.
--Stay in the shade as much as possible.
--Be super-protected or avoid sun exposure when shadows are shorter (between 10 a.m.-4 p.m.).
·--Wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UV rays and wrap around the sides of the face. Check the label for the level of UV protection.
--Remember to use sun protection when you're in the shade because UV rays can reflect off surrounding sand, snow or light-colored surfaces to reach to your skin.
-- Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin not covered by clothing. Don't forget your nose, ears, neck, hands and feet.