The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal

MAY 2013

The 2012 edition of The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal features medically reviewed, reader-friendly articles such as tanning, the increasing incidence of skin cancer diagnoses among young women, & the prevalence of melanoma among white males over 50.

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A SUNSCREEN TEST RUN We wondered if athletes would use sunscreen if it were more readily available, so we designed a randomized clinical trial of 83 female golfers on 10 varsity NCAA golf teams in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.10 We gave some athletes (the treatment group) sunscreen to keep in their bags and use on the golf course. We also placed a large amount of sunscreen at their gym's locker room exit. The control group was allowed to use sunscreen, but none was provided. The group with greater access to sunscreen increased their sunscreen use by 1.13 days per week, while use among the control group stayed the same. Making sunscreen readily available also led to more golfers reapplying sunscreen during competition. 64% Before the intervention, just 45 percent of these golfers reapplied sunscreen during games, but at the end of the study, that number had increased to 64 percent. 51% Meanwhile, in the control group, the percentage of golfers who reapplied sunscreen during competition actually decreased, from 54 percent to 51 percent. AN ACTION PLAN FOR ATHLETES These fndings suggest that regularly providing sunscreen would encourage greater sun protection among the more than a quarter of a million students active in college sports today. But supplying sunscreen is just one way that adults, including college administrators, coaches, and parents, can help young athletes stay sun-safe. [See Table 2.] TABLE 2: 30 + TABLE 1: Skin Cancer Risk Factors for Outdoor Athletes 1 2 3 4 Cumulative ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure since early childhood Exposure to solar UV radiation during the peak hours of intensity Lack of sunscreen or shade in the sporting environment Uniforms that leave significant amounts of skin exposed to UV radiation 5 6 Reflection of UV radiation by playing surfaces such as sand, snow, water, and asphalt 7 Altitude-related increase in UV radiation exposure for high-elevation locations and mountain sport athletes Increased UV radiation effects due to sweat Suggestions for Decreasing Skin Cancer Risk Among Outdoor Athletes Providing free sunscreen on the playing field and at the entrances to the locker room Educating athletes before each season about sun-safe behaviors; if possible, also arranging for annual professional skin screenings for all team members Using coaches and trainers as role models of sun-safe behaviors Encouraging practice in shaded areas and before 10 AM or after 4 PM whenever possible Discouraging the practice of exercising shirtless Wearing hats when possible Wearing dark- or bright-colored, moisture-wicking, synthetic clothing 39

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