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Safe Sun Habits Reduce Cancer Risk

One in five children will grow up to develop skin cancer. Because protecting skin from the sun during childhood and adolescence is important to reducing the risk of cancer later in life, it's vital that parents become educated about sun safety, take steps to protect their kids against the damaging effects of the sun and build safe sun habits into the family routine.

Skin Cancer Facts

The statistics on skin cancer are alarming:

  • Forty-eight percent of sunscreen users who have had a sunburn in the past two years said it happened during their first time out in the sun after months of little to no sun.1
  • One in five children will grow develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime
  • Over half of all new cancers are skin cancers
  • Skin cancer is the fastest growing type of cancer
  • According to the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year
  • An estimated 10,590 people will die of skin cancer this year, 73 percent from melanoma
  • The incidence of melanoma more than tripled among Caucasians between 1980 and 2003.
  • Just one or two blistering sunburns in childhood may double the risk of developing melanoma.
  • About 23% of lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18.
  • 27% of parents with kids under twelve years old say they never or only sometimes apply sunscreen on their kids when they're outside for 2 to 4 hours. And 14 percent say they don't even apply sunscreen on their kids when they're outside for more than four hours.1

Kids at high risk

Children are highly susceptible to harmful UV radiation.

While everyone needs to practice sun safety, some people are at higher risk of developing skin cancer. Those at higher risk for skin cancer include individuals with:

  • fair complexion and/or freckles
  • light-colored hair and blue, gray, or hazel eyes
  • skin that burns easily
  • history of severe burns, many moles
  • skin cancer in family (one or more close relatives with skin cancer).

Common sun myths

Here are some of the most common myths about sun safety:

  • People who don't get sunburns don't get skin cancer
  • People with dark complexions don't get skin cancer
  • It's only necessary to use sunscreens while at the beach or the pool, not year round
  • A suntanned body is a healthy body
  • You can only get a sunburn in the summer
  • You don't need to practice sun safety when you are sitting in the shade
  • UV rays can't reach below the surface of water
  • UV rays don't travel through clouds
  • Tanning booths are a safe alternative to natural sun.