Rapids Promote Fighting Skin Cancer With "Make Sun Safety Your Goal" Community Program

DENVER – The Colorado Rapids are partnering with MLS the US Soccer Foundation the EPA and the American Academy of Dermatology to set a goal this summer for all children to practice sun safety – the best defense against skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the United States.

Make Sun Safety Your Goal!® is their joint public education program designed to raise awareness about the simple everyday steps soccer players and their fans can take to prevent skin cancer. The program is conducted through a public service partnership among the Academy Major League Soccer (MLS) teams the U.S. Soccer Foundation (Foundation) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Skin cancer poses a threat for the more than 17 million Americans including 11 million children who play soccer because of the many hours spent in the midday sun a major risk factor for developing this potentially deadly condition.

"Young children learning to play soccer for the first time and the elite athletes on professional teams have at least two things in common – a passion for the sport and the need to be careful in the sun said dermatologist Stephen P. Stone M.D. president of the Academy.

"For kids the years of sun exposure can really add up and increase their risk for developing skin cancer as adults. But by taking precautions everyone can be safe on the field whether they are playing coaching or cheering."

Skin cancer affects 1 in 5 Americans and more than 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year. Of these cases more than 111900 are melanoma a cancer that claims nearly 8000 lives annually.

"By promoting sun safety Major League Soccer Players are serving as important role models for their fans and all youth soccer players said Stephen P. Stone M.D. president of the Academy.

"Parents can follow their lead by conducting regular skin examinations of themselves and their children using sunscreen and reapplying it wearing protective clothing and seeking shade during peak sun hours. All of these simple steps can go a long way toward the goal of being sun smart."

A skin self-examination consists of regularly looking over the entire body including the back scalp soles of feet between toes and on the palms of the hands. If there are any changes in the size color shape or texture of a mole the development of a new mole or any other unusual changes in the skin you should see a dermatologist immediately. When caught early skin cancer is very treatable.

"Playing soccer contributes to a healthy lifestyle and encouraging all of our players coaches referees and fans to be careful in the sun is part of that said John Koskinen president of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

"No matter if you are at your local park or attending a professional match it’s important to protect yourself and your family."

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. You can have fun in the sun and Be Sun SmartSM. Here’s how to do it:

• Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply every two hours even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating.

• Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt pants a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses where possible.

• Seek shade when appropriate remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• Use extra caution near water snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.

• Protect children from sun exposure by applying sunscreen.

• Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.

• Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun consider using a sunless self-tanning product but continue to use sunscreen with it.

• Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing growing or bleeding on your skin see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) founded in 1938 is the largest most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 15000 physicians worldwide the Academy is committed t advancing the diagnosis and medical surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice education and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin hair and nails. For more information contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org.