HELENA, Mont.—Preventing skin cancer and protecting teens from the dangers of tanning is the goal of a new partnership between Miss Montana 2019 Mo Shea and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society.
Shea's social impact initiative as Miss Montana is Love the Skin You’re In: Skin Cancer Prevention and Education. She will serve as an ACS CAN Honorary Legislative Ambassador while completing her statewide tour to promote sun safety, skin cancer prevention and the need for indoor tanning restrictions to protect teens from increased cancer risk.
"Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is one of the most preventable cancers in young adults," said Mo Shea, Miss Montana 2019 and ACS CAN Honorary Ambassador. "The most avoidable risk factor for skin cancer is use of tanning devices, but many people don’t know the risks. I am excited to partner with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to continue to educate Montanans about skin cancer prevention and the dangers of tanning."
This year, 450 Montanans will be diagnosed with melanoma, the second most common cancer among females aged 15 to 29. Research shows using tanning devices before age 35 increase risk for developing melanoma by 59%, and rates increase when tanning devices are used before age 25.
"The research is clear: tanning devices increase cancer risk. In fact, indoor tanning devices are categorized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen, the same classification as cigarettes and asbestos. Despite these risks, Montana does not have a law in place to restrict kids under 18 from using these cancer-causing devices," said Kristin Page Nei, ACS CAN Montana government relations director. "Protecting young people from increased cancer risk is a top priority for us."
"We are thrilled to have Mo collaborate with our organization and use her influence as Miss Montana to help us educate teens, parents and lawmakers about these risks and the misconceptions that tanning is healthy. Teens and tanning just don’t mix," Page Nei continued.
Young people are especially susceptible to the tanning industry’s misleading and dangerous marketing tactics, which include back-to-school, prom and homecoming specials. These campaigns are concerning because teens are tanning at increasingly high rates: One in 13 high school girls have used a tanning device, with numbers increasing to one in eight by their senior year. In Montana, 1 in 5 female high school students use indoor tanning devices.
As part of Shea’s statewide Miss Montana tour, she is visiting elementary, middle and high schools across the state to present information on skin cancer prevention, sun safety techniques and encouraging teens to avoid tanning beds. Schools interested in a presentation should contact Veronika Ohlinger at [email protected] or 406-224-1357.
To get involved with ACS CAN in Montana, visit www.fightcancer.org/states/montana.
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About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.