SPUT Stops Spots!

Skin cancer is the fastest-growing form of cancer in the United States, with over 2 million new cases diagnosed each year (National Cancer Institute). SPUT Stops Spots, a component of the SPUT summer tennis program, is a health promotion program in St Paul that protects children from skin cancer. Children are at a particular risk for sun exposure, a major cause of skin cancer.

Quick facts:

  • Childhood sunburn may increase the risk of melanoma (a type of skin cancer) by nearly 2-fold!
  • By age 18, according to some studies, children will already have received as much as 80 percent of their lifelong skin damage from the sun!

Beginning in 2013, SPUT Stops Spots teaches kids the dangers of overexposure to the sun and encourages them to develop healthy habits for a lifetime. The program uses a combination of recreation-site and take-home educational strategies informed by widely accepted sun protection guidelines provided by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program is designed for use in sports programs and is integrated into tennis instruction as five-minute daily lessons.

University of Minnesota medical students and the SPUT coaches and staff run SPUT Stops Spots. Currently SPUT Stops Spots is trying to figure out how to get the program to continue in the community and how to provide free sunscreen to the kids at each tennis court.

The 4 rules of sun safety:

  1. Use sunscreen!
  2. Cover up!
  3. Protect your eyes and face! Wear sunglasses and a hat.
  4. Seek shade and watch the clock! Limit your time in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm.