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Young athletes ignore skin cancer risk

time for lift tickets, but UV light on the high slopes isn't "filtered" by the pollution found in the atmosphere at sea level, and it's even intensified by the white snow.

Studies have shown that sun exposure at noon in Vail equals that at the same hour on a Florida beach, said Dr. Adams. "Because it's cold on ski slopes, people who typically have their face and hands exposed tend not to wear sunscreen. Whereas on the beach they feel hot and are more aware, and they're influenced by the fact that everyone around them is using sunscreen."

The solution, Dr. Adams suggests, is relatively simple and could cost organizations like the NCAA--with its 250,000 outdoor athletes--very little or even nothing.

"All the NCCA and the other conferences, colleges and clubs need to do," he said, "is install a huge container of sunscreen in the locker room, where it's impossible to avoid. Manufacturers would probably donate product for the promotional value."

Infrastructure is already in place through the various sports organizations for educating outdoor athletes about the risk, Dr. Adams said. Preventive programs could easily be integrated into daily practice and competition regimes.

And enforcing a sunscreen rule should be a snap.

"Young athletes are at the right age to learn good habits that they can take into adulthood," he said, "and most kids heed their coach more than they do their parents."


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Contact: David Bracey
david.bracey@uc.edu
513-558-4559
University of Cincinnati
15-Aug-2005


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