AP NEWS

Kids learning lifetime sun protection skills

July 11, 2016 GMT

Ray and the Sunbeatables, a sun safety curriculum developed by the MD Anderson Cancer Center and distributed by the CATCH Global Foundation, will be implemented in August for pre-kindergarten through first-grade students.

The new curriculum will be available in six Texas school districts including Brownsville and Los Fresnos, the CATCH Global Foundation said. The curriculum aims to educate teachers, parents and students about sun protection and promote sun safety behaviors to reduce children’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, the CATCH Global Foundation said. The number of new cases of melanoma, the most fatal type of skin cancer, continues to increase each year, with 76,000 new cases expected in 2016. Meanwhile, being sunburned at least once during childhood doubles the risk of melanoma. At least half of children and adolescents report one or more sunburns per year.

At the Los Fresnos school district, curriculum coordinator Annice Garza said she was surprised to learn that once every hour someone in the U.S. dies from skin cancer, according to the curriculum.

“We tend to take for granted that these things aren’t going to be happening to us,” she said. “We want to make sure our students are educated on sun safety so we can have prevention.”

The curriculum introduces Ray and his Sunbeatable friends, each of whom wields a sun safety superpower to engage with students and keep them sun safe for a lifetime. (Ray creates and uses shade, Chloe dons protective clothing, Serena applies SPF 30 broad-spectrum sun screen and lip balm, Stefan styles with sunglasses and Hanna wears protective hats.)

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available at www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com