Fighting Skin Cancer in Serbia

Approximately one out of five people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Surprised? You’re not alone. Many people, especially young people, are unaware of the very scary health risks of sun exposure. A group of Serbian UGRAD Alumni in Novi Sad, Serbia are trying to change that through implementation of a Skin Cancer Awareness Project.  With the help of World Learning, local alumni coordinator Gordana Ilic and her team of volunteers are raising awareness about the dangers of skin cancer and the importance of skin protection.

The team’s first event took place at an annual marathon at Fruska Gora in April. Some 14,000 people participated in the marathon, and seven alumni led discussions about skin cancer with many of them. The alumni ran with t-shirts that displayed some of the most alarming facts about skin cancer and throughout the day many participants approached them with questions and personal stories.

The second event involved a large outing to the Novi Sad public beach during the busy summer season. The alumni, with the help of volunteers from the community, talked to several hundred people to assess their knowledge about the dangers of overexposure to the sun. The alumni and volunteers also distributed more than 1,500 hats and Frisbees with educational information about skin cancer prevention.

As part of their efforts to raise awareness, the alumni have also created a short educational video to highlight skin cancer risk factors and simple protection methods. Within its first week, the video had more than 100 views, and was posted on









Data from the beach event is being analyzed for the second phase of the project. The alumni plan to give lectures and workshops to at least 700 high school students in Novi Sad from September to December 2012 in order to raise awareness about the health risks of sunbathing and tanning without protection.