Visitors to tourist attractions get sun safety information, sunscreen

Visitors to tourist attractions get sun safety information, sunscreen

More than 1 million visitors to five Tucson-area attractions can benefit from a program that is providing sunscreen and sun safety information.

The Skin Cancer Institute at The University of Arizona Cancer Center is working with Biosphere 2, Pima Air and Space Museum, Reid Park Zoo, Tohono Chul Park and Tucson Botanical Gardens to install sunscreen dispensers in public restrooms at each venue, and to provide sun safety information for guests, staff and volunteers.

“One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Most skin cancer is caused by overexposure to the sun’s powerful rays, for which visitors to Tucson attractions may be unprepared,” said Denise Spartonos, the Skin Cancer Institute’s community outreach coordinator.

The Protect Your Skin program is funded by a $10,000 grant from the University of Arizona’s Community Connections Grants program. Spartonos said there are no other Arizona cancer-related organizations working with outdoor venues to prevent skin cancer, and the five organizations have not regularly provided sun protection for their guests.

“This program can serve as a model for future connections with other community agencies and as an example of a citywide campaign targeting outdoor venues,” Spartonos said.

The Skin Cancer Institute for six years has worked with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to provide sunscreen, sun safety information and more recently, sunblocking umbrellas for guests to use as they stroll the museum’s pathways. The Desert Museum has 400,000 visitors annually.

The Skin Cancer Institute will conduct its annual Living in Harmony with the Sun program at the Desert Museum on June 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. as part of the Museum’s Summer Saturday Night program. Dermatologists will perform free skin screenings in the Baldwin Building, and there will be interactive exhibits and sun safety information.

“The Skin Cancer Institute unites the Arizona Cancer Center’s many skin cancer prevention activities into one coordinated group, bringing together innovative research, visionary clinical care, life-changing education and community outreach. Our mission is to prevent and cure skin cancer,” Spartonos said.

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April 17, 2012