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Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin Cancer Prevention Programs

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. Early detection of skin cancer is almost always curable and prevents deaths.  The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara offers free skin cancer education and prevention programs to the community to help increase skin cancer awareness and preventive behaviors!

RAYS - Raising Awareness Yields Sun Safety is a ten week sun safety program developed by the Cancer Center’s Wellness Department to heighten sun safety awareness and practices for children, their parents, and recreation staff. Since 2003, the RAYS Program is offered at over ten to twelve different summer camps. Participating camps receive ten weeks' worth of fun-filled skin cancer prevention curriculum plus hats, sunscreen and shade canopies. Current participants include the Fun-in-the Sun, the Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, and Montecito YMCA’s and the Santa Barbara City Parks and Recreation Department summer day camps.

In Santa Barbara, kids in summer camps are learning about skin cancer and ways to help prevent it. They are wearing hats, using sunscreen, and seeking shade while having fun on the beach and other outdoor recreational activities. The Cancer Center’s RAYS Program is helping to make this possible. Today, we know that unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays can increase the risk of skin cancer. Sunburns that occur before the age of 20 are of particular concern. Unlike a tan that fades away, the harmful effects of sun damage are cumulative. Children receive the majority of their lifetime sun exposure by age 18.