Surgeon General Releases Skin Cancer Prevention Plan

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 07/30 2014 11:35PM

Updated 07/31 2014 12:11AM

The U.S. Surgeon General released the first-ever Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.

Boris Lushniak is declaring skin cancer a "major public health problem" and asking the nation to change its tanning trends.

"Usually Surgeon General warnings spark something in people's heads and I really hope this does," says Maddy Pryor, a Relay for Life Specialist with the American Cancer Society.

Pryor says this Call to Action is something she's been anticipating.

"I'm glad that finally the Surgeon General is making a statement saying something needs to be done," says Pryor. "Some of my committee members for some of my Relay events have actually been diagnosed with skin cancer so I am dealing with this sort of thing on a daily basis. I hope this message just makes more people realize how important skin protection can be."

The Surgeon General says in the report that skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S. and rates are increasing.

Tara Baney is a nurse practitioner at The Cancer Care Partnership - a partnership of Mt. Nittany Health and Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. Baney says she agrees with the Surgeon General calling the country's rise in skin cancer cases a "public health problem".

"It not only is causing people to have a very significant cancer that can cause death but it also puts more of a burden on the health care field," says Baney.

The report outlines a national plan to reduce skin cancer through education, public policy and research.  The strategies include:
   - Increasing opportunities for sun protection, such as shade, in outdoor recreational, educational and workplace areas.
   - Developing effective ways to deliver skin cancer prevention messages to the audiences that most need them.
   - Promoting policies to prevent skin cancer, including sun protection lessons in schools.
   - Enforcing indoor tanning laws and looking to make them tougher, while teaching people about the dangers.

For the complete report from the Surgeon General, click here.

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