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Skin cancer prevention: Teens may not be getting the message

When it comes to cancer prevention, there are no guarantees. Many factors beyond our control, like genetics, play a role in whether we’ll develop cancer in our lifetime. There are things we can do, though, to decrease the chances. Avoiding smoking — or quitting — is an example. Avoiding the sun (not tanning or getting sunburned) is another. Watch this video of people who either have skin cancer, had skin cancer or are remembering someone who has died due to skin cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually.

A new study out of Massachusetts indicates that “tweens and teens” aren’t getting the message. The study, Prospective Study of Sunburn and Sun Behavior Patterns during Adolescence”, surveyed 360 children in Massachusetts in 2004, when they were 10, and again in 2007, when they were 13, to learn their attitudes toward tanning, sun protection and how often they were sunburned. When the 13-year-olds were surveyed, only 25% of them were using sunscreen routinely.

Share the importance of skin cancer prevention

The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention webpage offers information on skin cancer prevention, who’s at risk and warning signs of skin cancer.

In addition, Skin Cancer Screening Card: Be Smart About Your Skin, Know your ABCD’s is available for you to download.

If you have tweens or teens, let us know if you’re finding it tough to convince them not to tan!