(WHTM) — Skin cancer is considered the most common cancer in the United States. Experts say skin protection among youth is the most effective way to help prevent new cases, but according to a survey, less than one-third of kids between 11 and 18 years old regularly use sun protection.
“I think even though they understand the importance, that they can’t take in exactly what that means for their health. And part of it is is that a lot of what we discuss about why it’s important is about their health in the future, not at the moment,” said Dr. Joan Tamburro, a dermatologist with Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
Tamburro says the survey offered some interesting insights into how youth view sun protection.
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For example, a majority polled believe it’s important to protect their skin from the sun and say they use sunscreen, but many still reported getting one or more sunburns. Tamburro says that’s likely due to them not properly applying sunscreen in the first place or not regularly reapplying it while out in the sun.
To increase the use of sun protection among youth, those polled made a handful of suggestions such as demonstrating the consequences of sun exposure and increasing product accessibility.
“I think it was a very good point, and as we look at some other countries, they do better even at accessibility of sunscreen at public pools or public locations,” Tamburro said. “When we talk about the dollars that are spent per year in this country on skin cancer, you know, is it worth us all to say, ‘Nope, let’s put money toward that and have it in locations where they can easily access it’?”
Tamburro recommends parents show their kids how to apply sunscreen at an early age so they continue those habits when they get older.