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American Academy of Dermatology, Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association Play Sun Smart(TM) to Strike Out Skin Cancer

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) are teaming up with the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) this summer through the Play Sun Smart(TM) program to educate players and fans about skin cancer. The many hours spent in the midday sun playing baseball or cheering for their favorite team puts both players and fans at risk for skin cancer, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects 1 in 5 Americans.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig learned the importance of skin cancer detection and prevention in 2004 when he was diagnosed and successfully treated for melanoma.

"Long before early detection of my own Level IV Melanoma saved me, Major League Baseball was committed to educating and warning our teams and our fans about the dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "We've been playing sun smart for ten years now and while there is still a lot of education to be done, I am proud that Baseball is a leader in the fight against skin cancer. I encourage the public to get a skin cancer screening from a dermatologist because it could save your life. When it comes to the sun, we want all of our field personnel, front office staff and fans to play smart and defeat skin cancer."

This year marks the 10th year of the Play Sun Smart(TM) program, a public service partnership between the Academy, MLB and the MLBPA to raise awareness of the importance of skin cancer detection and prevention. MLB has dedicated June 21, the first day of summer, as Play Sun Smart(TM) skin cancer awareness day.

In celebration of the 10th year of the program, MLB is expanding its commitment to help strike out skin cancer by releasing a new public service announcement (PSA) which will be played at ballparks across the country featuring past and present spokesmen, urging the public to Play Sun Smart(TM). In addition to the PSA, MLB will be distributing sun safety tip cards at guest services in all ball parks and sun safety messages will be made by the game day announcers. A full page Play Sun Smart(TM) ad also will run in USA Today prior to June 21, MLB's Skin Cancer Awareness Day.

More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year and one American dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes). Of these cases, more than 116,500 are melanoma, a cancer that claims more than 8,000 lives annually. Since the Play Sun Smart(TM) program's inception in 1999, more than 19,000 skin cancer screenings of players, trainers, coaches and staff of the MLB family have been conducted.

"The baseball community continues to set a good example of sun-safe behavior," said dermatologist Brian B. Adams, MD, MPH, Chair of the Academy's Sports Committee. "We encourage everyone, including baseball players and fans, to regularly conduct skin self-examinations to look for signs of skin cancer which can be successfully treated if caught early."

Skin self-examinations consist of regularly looking over the entire body, including the back, scalp, soles, between the toes and on the palms. If there are any changes in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, the development of a new mole or any other unusual changes in the skin, see a dermatologist immediately.

Just like the pros, the public can be screened for skin cancer by visiting the Academy's Web sites at or to find a free screening in their area. Through this public service, dermatologists have volunteered to conduct more than 1.8 million skin cancer screenings and have detected 180,170 suspicious lesions, including 20,933 suspected melanomas, since 1985.

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. You can have fun in the sun and Be Sun Smart(SM). Here's how to do it:

-- Generously apply water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to all exposed skin. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Look for the AAD SEAL OF RECOGNITION(TM) on products that meet these criteria.

-- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

-- Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

-- Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, using protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.

-- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.

-- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.

-- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you've been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

-- Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 15,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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