Prevention News: Teens Create A Sunscreen Reminder

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These two New Zealand teens have created a visual reminder to reapply sunscreen in hopes that their efforts will raise awareness about skin cancer and Melanoma.  Danielle Watt and Sarah Mount are participating in a school program called Young Enterprise. Taking sun safety into their own hands they created the Exposure Band, which looks like a rubber watch. The Exposure Band is a sensor that changes color when the wearer needs to apply more sunscreen. When the wearer applies sunscreen to their skin they also apply the same amount to the face of the band. As the sunblock wears off of the skin and the band the Exposure Band changes color (from white to bright yellow) alerting the user that it is time to reapply! The bands come in 7 colors and are made for kids and adults. For now these bands are only being sold on their Facebook page. The teens will be donating the sales to the Skin Cancer Foundation. (Source: Brisbane Times)

This cause hits close to home because they have both known someone diagnosed with Melanoma and live in a place where skin cancer is the most common cancer. In New Zealand, new skin cancers total about 67,000 per year, compared to a total of 16,000 for all other types of cancer. There is a one in 17 chance that a person from New Zealand will develop Melanoma. It is not just affecting older people, but it is quickly becoming a young persons disease–Melanoma is the most common type of cancer for 25–44 year old males (17 deaths in 2004) and 15–24 year old females (12 deaths in 2004). (Source: Science Learning)

Many people believe that putting their sunscreen on once a day will protect them from skin damage, UV exposure and ultimately skin cancer. This is not true. Sunscreen must be reapplied at least every two hours, less when in and out of the water. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, UV protective clothing and avoiding the peak hours of the day are also other ways to protect your skin from sun damage, sunburn and skin cancer.

Wearing Exposure Bands would be a fun way to keep track of sun exposure and a subtle reminder to reapply sunscreen.  Children would especially benefit from this product; giving them independence in their own sun safety with less nagging from Mom to put on more sunscreen!

Would you wear one?

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Melanoma cases likely to decline

Article found on stuff.co.nz:

*New Zealand could lose its unenviable reputation as the skin-cancer centre of the world thanks to climate change.*

Extreme levels of ultra-violet (UV) radiation caused by clear skies and bright sunshine kill between 250 and 300 Kiwis a year, giving New Zealand the highest death rate from melanoma in the world.

However, there may be cause for celebration, with some scientists believing that by the second half of this century the rate will be falling.

Scientists think that climate change will speed up a recovery of the ozone layer over much of the world and block out more of the damaging UV rays.

The maximum value of the UV index which at this time of year can reach “extreme” levels of 12 over the South Island and 13 further north would drop by two or more steps under such a scenario.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Greg Bodeker said the peak in the skin-cancer rate was expected about 2040.

Beyond that, increased ozone concentrations were likely to take New Zealand and the rate back to where it was in the 1950s or 60s.

“It’s a good story, absolutely. We are already seeing ozone recovery over New Zealand,” Bodeker said.

“Skin-cancer rates of today are caused by UV exposure 20 or 30 years ago.

“All the indications are that climate change will accele-rate the recovery of the ozone levels.”

Some people were concerned that if UV radiation levels fell lower than so far experienced that might lead to vitamin D deficiencies, but that seemed unlikely, he said.