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Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394


May 24, 2000
Contact: Kathy Harben
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
and Health Promotion
(770) 488–5131

CDC reminds young Americans to “Choose Your Cover” when having fun in the sun

As summer approaches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds Americans that protecting their skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays can help reduce the risk of getting skin cancer. This year, more than 1 million new skin cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed. The most serious form of the disease, melanoma, will claim an estimated 7,700 lives.

CDC’s public education campaign, "Choose Your Cover," urges teens and young adults to play it safe when outdoors and protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. "Young people need to know that the risk of getting skin cancer later can be greatly reduced if they start protecting their skin from the sun now," said Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, director of the CDC.

Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. Scientists believe it may be related to increased voluntary exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Unprotected skin can be harmed by UV rays in as little as 15 minutes, yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effects of sun exposure. So skin that looks "a little pink" now may actually progress into sunburn hours later.

Serious sunburns, especially during childhood and adolescence, can also increase the chances of developing malignant melanoma — one of the most serious forms of skin cancer and the one that causes most skin cancer-related deaths. Although most Americans are aware of the dangers of UV exposure, it is estimated that only one third take steps to protect their skin from the sun.

CDC recommends five easy options for protection: Seek shade — especially during midday when UV rays are strongest and do most damage; Cover up — with clothing to protect exposed skin; Get a hat — with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck; Grab shades — that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays as possible; and Rub on sunscreen — with SPF 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection.

The Choose Your Cover campaign includes upbeat public service announcements (PSAs), for television, radio, and print media that are geared to teens and young adults — groups that spend hours in the sun and are among the least likely to protect themselves. The campaign reinforces the idea that young people can protect their skin while still having fun outdoors.

"The Choose Your Cover campaign reminds teens and young adults of the serious consequences of sun exposure. We’d like them to know it’s important to protect their skin from UV rays," said Nancy C. Lee, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

The Choose Your Cover campaign components also include CDC partnerships with Seventeen magazine for a Choose Your Cover poster design contest, and a "Sun Protection. Think in Synch" poster featuring the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team—Synchronized Swimming.

For more information, visit the following Web sites:

CDC’s Choose Your Cover campaign:

Seventeen magazine contest and quiz:

# # #

Note to editors

Full press kits and B-roll package (video, audio and print) are available upon request. Graphics and "Choose Your Cover" icons can be downloaded at the CDC website listed above. For campaign materials contact, Charles Green at (770) 488–3020.

The satellite coordinates for May 25 and 26 feeds (with soundbites from CDC officials and the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Team) are:

May 25 
2:00pm-2:30pm ET
C-Band - GE 2 - Transponder 18 - Downlink 4060 MHz - Audio 6.2 & 6.8

May 26
10:45am-11:00am ET
C-Band - Telstar 6 - Transponder 9 - Downlink 3880 - Audio 6.2 & 6.8


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This page last reviewed Friday, April 28, 2000

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