Protecting Your Skin
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Because the majority of cases are linked to an overexposure of ultraviolet (UV) rays, from the sun or indoor tanning devices alike, it is also one of the most preventable cancers. The effects of UV radiation damage range from premature aging to melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer that kills close to 10,000 individuals annually.
In fact New Hampshire ranks second highest in the nation for new melanoma diagnoses and seventh highest for melanoma death rate. Therefore skin cancer rates in the state are a serious public health concern that must be addressed.
The use of indoor tanning devices is particularly dangerous as they produce UVA rays more intense than from the sun. It is also known that UV exposure at a young age is especially damaging and can increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Recently New Hampshire became the twelfth state to ban the use of indoor tanning by anyone under the age of 18.
Although this law is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. Help us prevent skin cancer by supporting policies that protect us all from cancer causing UV rays. Work with teachers and youth leaders to raise awareness about the dangers of UV exposure. Advocate for increased shade at playgrounds, pools and public spaces. Help promote sun protection in recreation areas with accessible sunscreen, hats and sunglasses for use or purchase.
One in three Americans report getting sunburned every year; we need to make it easier to have fun but still stay safe in the sun.
Together – Eliminating Cancer
Featured Partner: Sharon Bean
Sharon Bean, RN, MS, is an instructor at the Concord Regional Technical Center (CRTC) in the Health Science and Technology Program at Concord High School.
Sharon and Concord High School have partnered with the NH CCC and the Melanoma Foundation of New England (MFNE) for the past several years to bring the MFNE’s “Your Skin is In” and “Teen Tanning forums” to students to address the NH Cancer Plan’s objective of increasing awareness about the dangers of ultraviolet exposure from tanning.
Students are surprised that the most common form of cancer in young adults, ages 15-23, is melanoma. They have the opportunity to use the skin scanner where damaged areas can be identified as well as areas they may have missed when applying sunscreen.
Meaghan Bannister, a junior in the program shared, “It was interesting to learn how unaware some students were of the damage that the sun causes to our skin while we are just outside walking or playing a sport.” She noticed “after looking at their own skin and seeing how it had been damaged from everyday sun exposure they seemed to view it as a more legitimate concern. Instead of having the common "that won't happen to me" attitude they looked at it as a real issue that concerned them, something that they needed to protect themselves against.”
The two-year program Sharon teaches is for students who are interested in the health care profession. Interests range from nursing, pre-med, physical therapy, and veterinary science.
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News and Events
Editorial: N.H. Needs to Discuss End-of-Life Issues, Valley News, 6/19/15
CDC Vital Signs Report, 6/2/15
Gov. Hassan signs bill prohibiting tanning for minors, Union Leader, 6/2/15
Feds Say That In Screening Colonoscopies, Anesthesia Comes With No Charge, Kaiser Health News 5/15/15
Skin Cancer Epidemic, Fosters.com, 5/15/15
Tanning is bad for teenagers, The Cabinet, 5/14/15
Screening Rates Stalled For Common Cancers, NHPR, 5/7/15
NH has 3rd highest incidence of melanoma, NH Union Leader, 4/29/15
What to expect at a SPOTme skin cancer screening, NH Union Leader, 4/29/15
Why New England Is Such a Hotbed for Skin Cancer, Boston.com, 4/28/15
It's too soon to look at e-cigarettes as a positive step, Sentinel Source, 4/24/15
Ethnicity complicates patient-doctor discussion of death, Washington Post, 4/22/15