News

Put on some sunscreen!

Put on some sunscreen!

CATCHING SOME RAYS: Avoiding over-exposure to the sun is particularly important during childhood and adolescence, the study said. Photo: clipart.com

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Fewer U.S. teenagers are using sunscreen, even as skin cancer rates increase, a study found.

The percentage of high school students using sunscreen dropped from 67.7 percent in 2001 to 56.1 percent in 2011, according to the study by researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey and published Thursday in the publication Preventing Chronic Disease.

The study analyzed survey data from high school students collected for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.

The drop in sunscreen use occurred as melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, increased 1.6 percent annually among men from 2001 to 2010 and 1.4 percent among women, the study said.

“It’s alarming,” said Corey Basch, assistant professor of public heath at William Paterson and one of the study’s authors. “Given that the rates of skin cancer and melanoma are going up, we would have liked to have seen sun protection measures also going up.”

The CDC recommends using sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds to avoid developing skin cancer.

Avoiding over-exposure to the sun is particularly important during childhood and adolescence, the study said.

The findings point to the need for a greater push to inform teenagers on the dangers of sun exposure, said Basch.

“What we really need is to change the mindset that having this artificially tanned skin is attractive,” she said.

In Australia, a massive public information campaign called “Slip Slop Slap” included handing out free sunscreen at beaches and was effective in increasing sun protection, Basch said. Television ads showed beachgoers wearing hats and shirts.

“Over time, it really transformed how people envisioned a beach day,” Basch said. “It was no longer just frying yourself, so to speak, on a beach in a string bikini.”

While the use of sunscreen by teenagers is dropping in the United States, so is the use of indoor tanning devices, the study said.

From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of respondents using tanning devices dropped from 15.6 percent to 13.3 percent, the study said. However, the decrease was so small that it is not considered significant, Basch said.

(Reporting by David Adams)

Recent Headlines

3 hours ago in Local

Long-time State Senator Tom Libous dead at 63

Photo from New York Senate website

Libous represented portion of Southern Tier dating back to 1989; he passed after long fight with cancer

6 hours ago in Local

Sheldon Silver sentenced in corruption case

sheldon silver

The former New York Assembly Speaker has been sentenced to 12 years.

7 hours ago in Local

TCAT general manager dies after battle with cancer

photo by Peter Blanchard

TCAT general manager Joe Turcotte passed away Monday from cancer, according to officials with the transit service.

7 hours ago in Local

Dryden man charged with intentional hit-and-run accident

predmore

Police say Daniel Predmore of Dryden intentionally hit another car in Caroline last week before driving away.

7 hours ago in National, Olympics, Sports

Flame lands in troubled Brazil for 94-day relay to Games

21-overlay-1

President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch in Brazil's capital on Tuesday and pledged that political turmoil engulfing her nation would not harm the first Games to be held in South America.