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Play Sun Smart Awareness and Education

The Royals, Major League Baseball and the American Academy of Dermatology want everyone at the game to Play Sun Smart today and every day. As the official healthcare provider of the Royals, The University of Kansas Hospital teams up to help keep Royals fans safe throughout the year.

Here are some ways you can Play Sun Smart not only at the ballpark, but throughout the year!

Apply the golden rules of sun protection

Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease, affecting the young, old and everyone in between. With lengthy exposure to the sun comes an increased risk of skin cancer. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

An estimated 13 million Americans have been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer; nearly 800,000 Americans have been diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

While anyone can develop skin cancer, you are at greater risk if you have any of these factors:

  • Fair skin that freckles easily
  • Light-colored hair and eyes
  • A large number of moles, or moles of unusual size or shape
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • A personal history of blistering sunburns
  • A lot of time spent working or playing outdoors

Your role in early detection

By examining your skin, you can catch potentially dangerous conditions while they are still treatable. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas may begin as:

  • A small, white or pink nodule or bump with a smooth and shiny, waxy or pitted surface
  • A red spot that is rough, dry or scaly
  • A firm, red lump that may form a crusted group of nodules
  • A sore that bleeds and does not heal after two to four weeks
  • A white patch that looks like scar tissue

Melanoma warning signs

Melanoma is usually signaled by a change in the size, shape or color of an existing mole or as a new growth. Watch for the ABCDE warning signs:

  • Asymmetry or a growth with unmatched halves
  • Border irregularity, or ragged or blurred edges
  • Color that appears mottled, with shades of tan, brown and black, sometimes mixed with red, white or blue
  • Diameter of more than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) or any unusual increase in size
  • Evolution of a growth that seems to change in size, shape, color, texture or border

Protect the skin you're in

You can combat skin damage and disease by frequently applying a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30. It's also smart to wear protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses when the sun's rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. By taking precautions, knowing your risk factors and having regular screenings, you can avoid skin cancer, a preventable disease.

© 2014 The University of Kansas Cancer Center