Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main culprit, along with tanning booths or sunlamps.

Melanoma, the most dangerous type, accounts for only one percent of skin cancer cases but causes the vast majority of deaths. The American Cancer Society anticipates that more than 76,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed this year, and over 10,000 deaths will occur as a result.

The good news is that skin cancer can almost always be cured when found and treated early. Health care providers, along with communities and families, can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it in its initial stages.

Make a Difference This Month

With the summer months approaching, now is the perfect time to get the word out about the dangers of exposure to UV radiation.

These ideas, from the American Academy of Dermatology, sponsor of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, can help you get started:

  • Encourage employees and their families to adopt healthy habits together, such as wearing sunscreen and limiting their time in the sun;
  • Motivate area school teachers and administrators to teach kids about the harm of UV radiation and why it’s important to protect yourself;
  • Identify youth leaders in your community who can talk to their peers about taking steps to prevent skin cancer;
  • Host a skin cancer screening event at your hospital.

Some other ways to promote Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month include:

  • Add information about skin cancer prevention to your employee newsletter (click here to see a sample announcement);
  • Share information about Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month via social media (see some sample posts/tweets below);
  • Write a press release and distribute it to local media;
  • Request to be interviewed by local media;
  • Record a patient education video that talks about the dangers of skin cancer and demonstrates how to check skin regularly for warning signs;
  • Post skin safety tips near frequently used exits so employees, patients, and their family members can read them;
  • Add a badge to your hospital website.

Sample Social Media Messages to Share

Social media can be a powerful force for building awareness due to its ease of use, built-in sharing capabilities, and potential for messages to go viral. Share these posts with your friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks:

  • Q. What is the leading cause of skin cancer? A. Being exposed to UV radiation from the sun. Learn more: http://1.usa.gov/1G8qOTW
  • Did you know? Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. Learn how to protect your skin: http://1.usa.gov/1jCNVfY
  • Q. Is indoor tanning safer than tanning in the sun? A. Tanning indoors and outdoors are both dangerous. Learn more: http://1.usa.gov/1bbBePF
  • Go the extra step: Protect yourself from #skincancer by doing a skin self-exam. Learn how: http://1.usa.gov/1nZSlRU
  • Be cool and wear your shades – UV rays can hurt your eyes. Get more tips for healthy eyes: http://1.usa.gov/lgkLhw
  • Skin cancer affects people of all ages, including older adults. Learn how and why: http://1.usa.gov/jt7vYY
  • Health Tip: Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside to help prevent #skincancer.

Other Melanoma/Skin Cancer Resources

Check out these other skin cancer prevention and detection resources: