In May, the Arizona Cancer Center's Skin Cancer Institute, in partnership with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, will present the fourth annual Living in Harmony with the Sun. The two-day event is aimed to help people understand UV – ultra violet -- exposure and learn how to enjoy Arizona’s approximately 350 sunny days each year. The free weekend activities highlight skin cancer prevention and detection at the Desert Museum, one of Southern Arizona’s most popular attractions focusing on how humans and animals adapt to live successfully in the sun.
The event will be filled with interactive educational displays, children’s activities and vendors displaying sun safety products. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has installed three sun screen dispensing stations for visitors who didn't apply sunscreen or need to reapply sunscreen.
"Using sun screen daily and wearing clothing that afford adequate protection should be a part of everyone's routine when they visit the Desert Museum," said Amy Hartmann, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum community development officer. "We are currently working to integrate permanent exhibits and signage on how animals and plants adapt to the sun. This partnership with the Arizona Cancer Center will help us complete our mission to make our visitors more aware of the importance of skin cancer prevention."
One out of five Americans will develop skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. The good news: Most skin cancers are preventable and, if detected early, are highly treatable. Local dermatologists, recruited by the Tucson Dermatology Society, will conduct free skin cancer screenings. During the last three years, more than 550 people received skin cancer screenings at Living in Harmony with the Sun events.
“Skin cancer in Southern Arizona is a major public health problem,” says Arizona Cancer Center Director David S. Alberts, MD. “Our skin cancer incidence rate is four to seven times higher than that in northern parts of the United States. This is an increasingly serious problem for young people – especially melanoma, which can be deadly.”
“This melding of the Arizona Cancer Center skin cancer prevention program with educational programs at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum represents a tremendous opportunity to teach the public about the severe danger associated with the sun,” he adds. “We can learn a great deal from the plants and animals in the desert, which learned a long time ago to shelter themselves from the midday sun.”