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Protect your skin from the sun in May

When: May

What: When the weather warms up, people swarm outside to absorb the warmth and frolic in the sunshine. One thing that might not be in the front of their minds is how damaging the sun can be to skin. Skin cancer, melanoma specifically, can sometimes be caused by overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays. This May, make yourself aware during National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.

Background: Melanoma, a form of skin cancer, can affect anyone. Those with fair skin and sun-sensitive skin, however, have a higher risk of melanoma, particularly those with a familial history of skin cancer. According to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, between 40 percent and 50 percent of Americans who live to the age of 65 will have skin cancer at least once. People can take precautions to avoid sun damage, but the need for awareness has never been greater.

Story Pitch: A wide variety of groups and organizations can pitch around skin cancer/melanoma awareness and prevention. Dermatologists will want to discuss precautions with their patients, urging them to use sunscreen and avoid harmful UV rays from both the sun and tanning beds. In addition, pediatricians and family doctors can make parents and patients aware of melanoma. They may note the importance of regular checks of existing moles for discoloration or changes, but also encourage the use of sunscreen, particularly on young skin. Producers and retailers of products that protect the skin, such as sunscreen, umbrellas, sunglasses and UV protective clothing will want to run promotions.  Sunless or spray tan providers can promote the option of sunless tanning, a less harmful way to stay tan.

Story Hook: Melanoma, while dangerous, is curable in most cases when found early. It’s best to avoid the sun’s harmful effects, however, as more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. Consider the following when you make your pitch.

  • What are several symptoms of skin cancer?
  • How can you avoid overexposure to the sun’s UV rays?
  • At what age should protection from the sun start?
  • What are some pre-emptive measures one can take to avoid skin cancer?

Tips: A dermatologist who regularly deals with skin cancer patients would be a great resource for melanoma awareness. Additionally, a person who has survived melanoma can provide great insight into the disease.

Resources

American Academy of Dermatology
(866) 503-7546
www.aad.org

American Cancer Society
(800) 227-2345
www.cancer.org

Centers for Disease Control
800-232-4636
cdcinfo(at)cdc.gov
www.cdc.gov

Skin Cancer Foundation
(212)725-5176
www.skincancer.org

–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
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