WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting initiatives that encourage childhood skin protection and help prevent future cases of skin cancer. Joyce was joined in this important effort by his fellow Co-Chairs of the Skin Cancer Caucus, Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-05), John Joyce, M.D. (PA-13) and Carolyn Maloney (NY-12).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, while more than two people die of the disease every hour. Data from the National Institutes of Health shows that the incidence of skin cancer increases every year and the lifetime risk of developing the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, is 1 in 50. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, those who have more than five blistering sunburns double their risk for melanoma.
“I’ll never forget the moment I found out the brown freckle on my upper chest was a melanoma,” said Congressman Joyce. “While I survived my battle with skin cancer, many do not. The good news is that skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. The first line of defense against this disease starts with protecting kids from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. It seems simple but by ensuring that children know to wear protective clothing and are proactively using sunscreen, we will be able to save lives. I thank Reps. Cooper, Joyce and Maloney for joining me in introducing this resolution and look forward to continuing to work with them to provide Americans with the information they need to prevent, detect and treat skin cancer.”
“Summer means that we MUST use sunscreen to protect our skin,” said Rep. Jim Cooper. “This is especially true for children. Sunburns can cause serious damage and lead to skin cancer later in life. As a Co-Chair of the Skin Cancer Caucus and a recent grandfather, I’m glad to help everyone, but especially kids, stay healthy.”
“It’s an alarming and underappreciated fact that skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable, given sufficient public awareness and education. I am proud to re-introduce this common sense resolution to encourage educational initiatives in schools, for healthcare professionals, and at all levels of government to emphasize the importance of sunscreen and skin protection in preventing skin cancer.”
“Having lost my paternal grandfather to skin cancer and being a skin cancer survivor myself, I have seen the devastating ramifications of skin cancer firsthand. Children who suffer a blistering sunburn at a young age become much more likely to develop melanoma later in life,” said Dr. Joyce, the only dermatologist in Congress. “It is imperative that Americans take steps now to protect their families against skin damage and guard against potentially-deadly skin cancer in the future. As the only dermatologist serving in Congress and co-chair of the Skin Cancer Caucus, I am proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan resolution to strengthen skin cancer prevention efforts for American children and expand awareness of sunscreen and other vital protections. By working together, we can protect our children and keep them safe from sunburn this summer and throughout their lives.”
Specifically, the bipartisan resolution:
- supports Federal, State, and local efforts to exempt sunscreen from over-the-counter medication bans in schools and encourages all schools to allow students to possess sunscreen at school without restriction and without requiring physician authorization;
- encourages State, local, and community entities, including schools and summer camps, to develop policies that provide for the use of and access to sunscreen and articles of sun-protective clothing; and
- supports initiatives and efforts to encourage physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, through pediatric wellness exams and other opportunities, to educate parents and their children about sun-safe behaviors, including instructions on how to apply sunscreen and effectively wear comprehensive sun-protective clothing.
To read the full resolution, click here. To learn more about how to prevent and detect skin cancer, click here.