A government task force finds counseling programs about skin cancer are helping children and young adults get the message about the dangers of sun exposure.
Fourteen year-old Sabrina Cohen spends most afternoons in the sun. But whether she's playing on the water or off, she's always wearing sunscreen. "I know it's fun to be tan and looks nice sometimes, but it's really not worth it," she said.
A government task force found that counseling children on skin cancer prevention helped make them more responsible when it comes to sun exposure. The task force recommends doctors talk to patients between the ages of 10 and 24 even if they have no history of the disease.
"The sun damage people get in their youth is probably more damaging than what happens when they're older. The body is less able to cope, or more easily damaged in a permanent way," said Dr. David Keene, a pediatrician.
More than 2-million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, making it the most common type of cancer in the U.S. The task force recommends staying away from tanning salons, avoiding the midday sun and using sun screen with a protection of 15 or higher.
Sabrina's mom, Debbie, knew to be vigilant when her kids were young. "When I put sunscreen on them before a game or before school, they'd be so annoyed and say I was the only mom doing this and then I said, one day you'll thank me," she said.
While Debbie says that day has not come yet, Sabrina seems to be coming around. "You can't even tell you're wearing it, so it can't hurt," she said.
She's now the first of her friends to break out the sun block, both on and off the field.
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