Fighting Skin Cancer with Playground Sunshades

Fighting Skin Cancer with Playground Sunshades


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Moving aggressively to prevent skin cancer in kids, the American Academy of Dermatology announced funding grants to build shade structures over playground areas.

Several non-profits groups, including the University of Utah are applying for the grants.

Dermatologists worry about open playgrounds like this because at our altitude -- children get about 30 percent more harmful radiation than they would at lower altitudes.

Sunburns we get as children - never go away!

In fact research now confirms by the time a child grows into teenage years and reaches age eighteen - he or she has accumulated 80 percent of a lifetime of sun exposure.

Laurence Meyer, M.D./U Of U Dept. of Dermatology: "WHAT IT MEANS IS THAT IN THE LONG TERM IS THAT IF WE CAN CUT DOWN ON SUN EXPOSURE IN THOSE KIDS, WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DRAMATICALLY REDUCE THE RATE OF SKIN CANCER IN ADULTS."

That's why the American Academy of Dermatology is pushing sunshades. Instead of a partial canopy, the grants will fund tarp-like covers which would protect the whole sandbox and any playground equipment in full sun.

"ED YEATES: "CHILDREN WHO SPEND A LOT OF TIME OUTDOORS IN THE SUMMER OR IN RECESSES ARE ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE."

Skin cancer is now considered an epidemic in this country -- and it's showing up more and more in younger people.

Laurence Meyer, M.D./U Of U Dept. of Dermatology: "USED TO BE CONSIDERED AN OLD PERSON'S DISEASE AND NOW WE'RE SEEING IT PEOPLE WHO ARE AGE 30, AND IN SOME CASES AGE 20 - AND I KNOW AN EMPLOYEE AT THE HOSPITAL, HAD A CASE AT AGE NINETEEN AND SHE HAD BEEN A COMPETITIVE SWIMMER AND A LIFEGUARD."

Research is now clear cut -- documenting actual molecular damage in the skin directly linked to UV rays from the sun.

Laurence Meyer, M.D./U Of U Dept. of Dermatology: "IT'S OVERWHELMING THAT SUN DAMAGE DIRECTLY CAUSES SKIN CANCER."

So, the advice is still the same. If you don't want the disease - shield your body with sunscreens, clothing, hats, and sunshades.

Incidentally, there are some products on the market now that will treat your clothes with a clear dye, so they're shielded even more from penetrating UV rays.

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