May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

The Montgomery Township Health Department and the Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition (RCDC), along with its partners, are encouraging residents to play it safe and protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun, beginning this season and throughout the year.

A proclamation declaring May as Skin Cancer Awareness month was presented at the April 25 Somerset County freeholders’ meeting.

“Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It is vital that we understand that anyone can get skin cancer regardless of skin color or age,” said Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, public health and safety liaison. “Recent studies indicate that sun damage in childhood can lead to skin cancer later in life, so you are never too young to protect yourself from sun exposure.”

“Skin cancer is a serious public health concern.  Every year, more than five million Americans are treated for skin cancer. This year alone, more than 10,000 deaths in the U.S. will be caused by melanoma skin cancer,” she said.  “We are urging residents to avoid artificial tanning, to conduct self-exams and to get screened. Melanoma is highly treatable when caught early.”

The RCDC is encouraging skin cancer awareness through a number of initiatives, programs and screenings throughout both counties.  An interactive May skin cancer awareness calendar with sun safety tips, screening locations and partner resources is available at http://bit.ly/MelanomaHD.  Dates with an orange star open to tips on how to protect yourself and your family as well as screening information and available resources.

An information table with skin cancer resources, screening information and copies of the calendar will be in the lobby of the Somerset County Administration Building at 20 Grove St., Somerville throughout the month of May. For ongoing information about programs offered by the Somerset County Department of Health, go to http://bit.ly/SCHealthDept and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SCHealthDept.

We also are supporting our coalition partner the Enright Melanoma Foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization, whose mission is to raise sun-safety awareness and help prevent melanoma through education and early detection.

Residents are encouraged to become Enright Sun Safety Certified™. Designed by skin-care professionals from the Enright Melanoma Foundation, programs are free, online education courses for ages 5 and over that take about 15 minutes to complete.  Once finished a certificate of completion can be printed. The programs can be found at www.ApplyCoverEnjoy.org.

The Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition, under the auspices of the Somerset County Department of Health, is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Office of Cancer Control and Prevention.  For more information, to become a member or to learn more about available cancer resources, screening locations, dates, times and eligibility, contact RCDC Public Health Consultant Lucille Y-Talbot at (908) 203-6077, ytalbot@co.somerset.nj.us or visit http://bit.ly/RCDCSC.

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