Major League Baseball and all 30 Clubs are once again raising awareness of skin cancer this summer through the Play Sun Smart initiative, which launches throughout the league this Sunday, June 8th. Clubs will initiate the program in a variety of ways, including first pitches and on-field ceremonies for special guests affected by skin cancer, young fans delivering sunscreen to dugouts, a league-wide scoreboard race, which was introduced last year to educate fans about playing safe in the sun, and more. Additionally, MLB players, coaches and staff from all 30 Clubs will serve as role models for fans by participating in skin cancer screenings and practicing sun-safe behaviors throughout the season.
"As a melanoma survivor, I am proud to support this effort encouraging fans, players, coaches and everyone at our ballparks to be vigilant in protecting their skin while exposed to the sun," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "The Play Sun Smart initiative has raised awareness within the baseball family and beyond about the importance of skin cancer prevention and detection. Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs are pleased to work with the American Academy of Dermatology to facilitate screenings and educate those who love our game."
Play Sun Smart is a joint effort by Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy). The goal of Play Sun Smart is to raise awareness of skin cancer and offer prevention and detection tips to the baseball community. Since 1999, Academy dermatologists have conducted nearly 34,000 skin cancer screenings through this program. Just like players and Club employees, fans are asked to practice safe sun behaviors and to find a free skin cancer screening in their area by visiting the Academy's website at www.SpotSkinCancer.org
Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Early detection of skin cancer is essential as skin cancer is highly curable if detected early and treated promptly. More than 1,100 suspicious lesions have been detected, including 137 melanomas, through the Play Sun Smart club screenings. Fans can spot skin cancer early by regularly looking over their entire bodies, including the back, scalp, soles, between the toes and on the palms. If there are any changes in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, if a new mole develops or any other unusual changes in the skin occur, fans are encouraged to make an appointment to see their dermatologist immediately. For more information about sun safety and the Play Sun Smart program, please visit MLBCommunity.org
The Play Sun Smart awareness program is one of several cancer-related initiatives supported by Major League Baseball. Other initiatives include Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), whose mission is to support groundbreaking scientific research aimed at getting new cancer treatments to patients quickly; the Mother's Day Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer initiative, which is a partnership with Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to help increase awareness of breast cancer and raise money towards the search for a cure; and the Prostate Cancer Foundation Home Run Challenge, which helps increase awareness of prostate cancer and raise money for the search for a cure as part of the MLB Father's Day celebration. To learn more about Major League Baseball's charitable initiatives please visit MLBCommunity.org or follow on twitter @MLBCommunity.