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Education Can Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Posted: January 11, 2007

"SunSafe in the Middle School Years" was a middle school research project conducted to improve awareness and educate teenagers about the prevention of skin cancer and the need for sun protection. The research study has been published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

The study provided a two-year follow-up period indicating that teens who participated in the program were much better about using sun protection devices than those teens who had not participated in the program.

The "SunSafe" project involved the cooperation of schools staff, recreational sports program coaches, parents and health care professionals. According to the study results, this may be the intervention needed to improve the behaviors of teens in protecting themselves better from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

The research took place within 10 communities in Vermont and New Hampshire. Funding was provided by the National Cancer Institute and was directed by pediatrician Ardis Olsen, MD and colleagues.

According to the "Primary Care Practice Manual" produced through the project, reducing sun exposure can eliminate 90 percent of skin cancers that currently occur in 1 of 5 Americans.