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Genesis nurses make pitch to strike out skin cancer

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Kim Turner and Wendy Ballou are women on a mission. The Genesis oncology nurses took their work to Modern Woodmen Park on Monday.

With music blaring and baseball playing for more than 5,000 kids, they passed out sunscreen and kid-friendly information about skin cancer.

"They just play outside," Turner said. "They just have fun. They don't think about long-term consequences of things."

Skin cancer will reach more than two million people each year. That's why the River Bandits teamed up with Genesis Health System to help keep kids cancer-free.

"It's the number one cancer out there," Ballou said. "But it's very treatable for the most part."

This pitch is about baseball and protection. The skin cancer rate is going up for young people. Young women are eight times more likely to get it today. Young men are four times as likely to get it today than 40 years ago.

"As a survivor of melanoma, I know that the exposure came over a long period of time when I was a kid and got repeatedly burned," said Craig Cooper, Genesis spokesman. "No one thought much about it at the time."

While Rascal the costumed mascot got his paws in sunscreen, The FDA is releasing new guidelines in June for dosage and protection against UVB rays and UVA rays. Both types contribute to skin cancer.

"Hopefully know more about what to buy," Turner said. "Making sure you're getting the right product for your money would be helpful for a parent, too."

Sunscreen products that cover both UVA and UVB rays will be labeled as "broad spectrum." The SPF should be 15 and higher to provide the most protection.

"If it's easier to use, easier for the kids to put on themselves, or for the parent to apply and re-apply, that's what it's all about," Ballou said.

Nurses on a healthy mission that starts at the ballpark.