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State health officials report that skin cancer is the second most common cause of cancer among teens and young adults aged 15 to 39 in Montana.  

To address this issue, the Montana Cancer Coalition Sun Safety Team is launching a meme challenge to reach teens and young adults across Montana.  

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.  In Montana, the melanoma incidence rate, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is higher than the U.S. rate.  Recognizing that Montanans live lifestyles where incidental exposure, such as recess play and outdoor winter activities can add up, the Sun Safety Team is challenging youth to use humor and creativity to shed light on a serious topic by creating memes to promote sun safe behaviors.

The majority of memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny and spread rapidly by social media users. Typical sun safe behavior and education is focused primarily during the spring and summer months. Launching the meme challenge now, sheds light on the necessity to practice sun safe behaviors year round. 

“Promoting sun safe practices and protecting youth from skin cancer is the unifying focus of the Sun Safety Team’s work,” says Lori Christenson co-chair of the group. 

Sun Safety Team co-chair Karl Vanderwood adds, “a dedicated focus on education and promoting safe practices through creativity is one way to change a generation of behavior and ultimately reduce the rates of skin cancer.”  

Getting involved is easy. To participate, individuals must be between the ages of 12-19. Participants can post their original meme(s) on the Montana Sun Safety Facebook page: 

“Finally, encourage people to like and comment on your entries,” Christenson said. Entries will be judged and VISA gift card awards will be given for the best overall, funniest, most clever and most impactful.  Deadline to submit an entry is midnight on December 15th.  Don’t have Facebook? Send your entries to [email protected] 

Please feel free to download and print the Meme Challenge flier!



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