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Free Sunscreen Dispensers

This is a good example of:

Quick interventions to help prevent skin cancer.


Benefits & Problems Addressed

Rising skin cancer rates:  In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to address skin cancer as a major public concern.  Between 2006 and 2011, the average number of adults treated for skin cancer annually grew nearly 40 percent.

Taking programs to where people are: The dispensers also dispense information on public health and sun exposure.

Addressing unexpected risks: Sun exposre poses risks in winter and in norhtern latitude. Sun exposure precention in children is particularly important; Up to 80 percent of an individual’s total lifetime sun exposure takes place before age 18. Sunburns during childhood are a “clear risk factor” for skin cancers later in life.

Tips & Techniques

Getting started: For smaller events or to test whether participants will use, place bottles of sunscreen in prominent places. For larger events, a pump bottle (sold online) will also do.

Costs: According the Melanoma Foundation of New England, which sells units, a dispenser costs $400 (dispenser body, pole, and a case of sunscreen). Replacement sunscreen is $200 for 4 bags of sunscreen (approximately 4,000 pump).

Sponsors: Work with businesses willing to share dispnser costs. Miami Beach’s program signed an innovative licensing agreement in 2014 allowing a private company to produce and market locally-branded sunscreen.

Outreach: Pair with outreach plans on sun exposure and identifying cancer early.


Melanoma Foundation of New England

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