Skin cancer facts #2 – kids

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in Cayman and the number of cases is rising at an alarming rate.

The good news is that the majority of these cases could be prevented. Most skin cancers are caused by UV radiation from the sun. If we protect ourselves from the sun then we can reduce our risk.

This is particularly important for children and young people whose skin is more delicate and easily damaged.

Sunburn in childhood can double your risk of developing skin cancer. You will not see the damage immediately because skin cancer can take years to develop, but children who are exposed to the sun now are storing up problems for the future.

If we get into good habits when we are young, by making sun safety part of our daily routine, the more likely we are to continue with it throughout life.

Many schools in Cayman already have, or are implementing, sun protection policies. Parents and teachers are increasingly aware that children have delicate skin that can be easily damaged by the sun’s UV rays, particularly in the middle of the day.

Schools and parents have a responsibility to ensure that pupils are protected from the harmful effects of the sun as much as possible during the school day. Although fair skinned people are more at risk from sun damage, sun protection is relevant to everyone.

Developing a sun protection policy is an important step towards encouraging good health.

We encourage parents and teachers to look at what their school is already doing to promote sun safety. This will help to identify what needs to be done and how much progress you are making.

Think about the following:

*How long pupils currently spend outdoors in the middle of the day;

*What sort of shade is available at school (if any);

*Whether pupils and staff wear protective t-shirts and hats;

*Whether sunscreen is encouraged and correctly used in school.

Parents can have a huge impact on sun safety at school by being proactive with their own children by:

*Talking to your child about the importance of sun protection at home;

*Sending your child to school with a wide brimmed hat;

*Volunteering to help raise money for a new playground shade canopy.

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing the development of cancer through its education programs and screening initiatives as well as to providing financial assistance to cancer patients and their families with treatment related expenses.

The Society also offers counselling and support to cancer patients and their families. The Society funds its programs through donations and fund-raising events. For more information on the Society call 949-7618 or email [email protected]