Having one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chance of developing melanoma later in life, yet less than one-third of all young people take the proper steps to protect their skin from excessive sun exposure, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Loyola University Health System is taking steps to curb this trend during Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May. The organization will partner with the Women's Dermatologic Society on its Time Out, Protect Your Skin national initiative to educate children about sun safety.
Loyola dermatologists and staff will visit Lincoln Elementary School from 12:30-2 p.m. on Friday, May 10, to teach students in English and Spanish how to protect their skin. The event will take place at 3545 S. 61st Ave. in Cicero.
A recent study from Washington University in St. Louis found that melanoma is on the rise in children. U.S. Hispanics also are less likely to engage in skin cancer prevention practices, according to The Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
“Skin cancer may go undiagnosed in children because kids and parents don't think to look for it,” said Rebecca Tung, MD, director, Division of Dermatology, LUHS. “Reaching out to children of all skin types with information about skin cancer prevention is especially important since melanoma is frequently more aggressive in Latinos, African-Americans and Asians.”
Time Out, Protect Your Skin will incorporate sun-safety education, outreach and materials into the school's curriculum through an ongoing collaboration. The program provides sun-safety training for faculty and administration. It also funds the construction of a shade structure that will be installed on the school's grounds later this spring. Along with the presentation, sun-safety tips will be provided to students and staff along with SPF 60 broad-spectrum sunscreen and UV color-changing bracelets.
“We are grateful to Loyola and the Women's Dermatologic Society for teaching our students about the dangers of sun damage,” said Donna Adamic, Superintendent, Cicero Public School District 99, and Jorge Rueda, Vice President, Board of Education, Cicero Public School District 99. “This session is especially timely as many of our students prepare for summer.”
Loyola University Health System