News release: MDH partners with teens to highlight rising skin cancer rates among young women

News Release
May 13, 2014

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MDH partners with teens to highlight rising skin cancer rates among young women

More winning videos announced – two winners will air during vampire show May 15

Melanoma is the second-most-common cancer among Minnesota girls and young women between the ages of 15 to 29, and indoor tanning increases melanoma risk by at least 59 percent.

Those are two of the facts highlighted in a video by Scott Svare, 18, of Burnsville High School, who is the judge's choice winner of the MDH UVideo Challenge. MDH has announced two additional winners in the contest.

For years, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has worked to inform teens and young women of the risk of tanning. In January, the department recruited reinforcements, teens themselves, by hosting the UVideo challenge. MDH and its partners invited teens to develop video messages explaining the risks of tanning to their peers. The Judge's Choice winner was selected by a panel of judges. The online vote winners were selected through online voting. View the winning videos at

Svare will receive a $1,000 cash prize from the Minnesota Dermatological Society. His video will also run in the Twin Cities during the May 15 season finale of "The Vampire Diaries." MDH chose the CW Network TV drama since it has received several Teen Choice Awards. "The show also has a tie to the message, since vampires have pale skin and try to stay out of the sun," said Michelle Strangis, MDH cancer policy coordinator.

The first place online vote winner also gets $1,000 and a spot on Vampire Diaries season finale on May 15. The second place online vote winner receives $500.

  • Online Vote First Place: "UV Light Bites!"
    Noah Kloster, St. Thomas Academy – St. Paul
  • Online Vote Second Place: "Don't Become an Orange"
    Zack Nelson, Park High School – Cottage Grove

Cash prizes donated by the Minnesota Dermatological Association.

More than one of every three 11th grade white females tanned indoors in the last year, according to the latest Minnesota Student Survey. Of those who tanned indoors, more than half did it 10 or more times. This is a concern since indoor tanning beds can deliver 10 to 15 times more ultraviolet radiation than natural sunlight.

MDH Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said the video contest is a creative way to communicate a serious message. "With prom and graduation approaching, now is the time to talk with teens about the dangers of indoor tanning," Ehlinger said. "In addition to causing wrinkles and other visual damage, we're seeing a 5 percent rise each year in the number of young Minnesota women diagnosed with melanoma."

More information on youth tanning is at


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications