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UV and Sun Exposure

Three images of people using sunscreen and using technology to see their sunscreen.  

Skin cancer/melanoma is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. Between 1975-2006, the rate of new melanoma diagnoses in Iowa has more than tripled. 

About 82 people in Iowa die of melanoma every year and for each year between 2002 and 2006, melanoma death rates in Iowa were the highest among the 10 most common cancer diagnoses in the United States. 

The most preventable risk for skin cancer is having unprotected exposure to         ultraviolet (UV) light. The sun emits UV light naturally and some days can be worse than others in terms of how much UV light is being emitted. 

Stay out of the sun when it is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You should also use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Simple steps can make a world of       difference. 

Ray and the Sunbeatables Program 

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has developed the Ray and the Sunbeatables Curriculum to educate teachers, parents, and children about sun protection and sun safety behaviors. 

Children meet superhero characters, Ray and the Sunbeatables, who have sun safe superpowers to protect against the harmful effects of UV rays. As a result of the curriculum, children will be able to express why sun protection is important and demonstrate how to protect their skin from the sun. 

Getting Sunbeatables is as easy as 1-2-3:
  • Go to to complete the program participation form. 
  • Complete the pre-recorded online training webinar. The link to access the training will be provided when we receive your participation form.
  • When you are finished viewing the webinar, complete the short online evaluation survey.
Your free SunbeatablesTM curriculum toolkit will be shipped to you after you complete the evaluation survey. (Limit to one free kit per site (a site is a building or center with a distinct address) serving 10 or more preschool children (ages 2-5) and/or school age children (ages 5-8). Additional kits are available for purchase. In-person training is also available. Contact CATCH for details: or call 855-500-0050.)

You can also find Sunbeatables online at!

Skin Cancer Stories 

"Thinking back to when I did tan, cancer was the last thing to cross my mind. Melanoma is the only cancer that is never considered in remission and this is something that I will fight for the rest of my life. It’s a very serious cancer and can be prevented. Be sun safe and stay out of tanning beds!!"

Paula's Story 

I played on the club softball team for three years and I am also an anatomy undergraduate teaching assistant, so the word about my cancer spreads quickly and brings up many conversations about my experience with skin cancer and how I was diagnosed. My priority is educating others about the dangers of tanning beds and how harmful they can be." 

Kasey's Story 

Teen Tanning Education and Prevention Toolkit 

Below is a toolkit that includes information for school administrators, teachers, and student advocates to share about tanning. 

Tanning Toolkit