Sign welcoming residents to the skin cancer screening at Memory Park Pool. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Yesterday's UV Index, between an 8 and 10. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Tracy Storms Mazzucco, one of the Sussex Count Cancer Coalition volunteers, educated children about the importance of wearing sunglasses. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sunscreens, lip balms, and other items given away yesterday. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Bracelets to measure UV Index. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Information about detecting skin cancer. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sussex County Residents ‘Choose Their Cover’
Sunday, June 17, 2012 • 9:29am
NEWTON, NJ – Sussex County residents had an opportunity to receive a free skin cancer screening yesterday through an initiative started by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and hosted by the Sussex County Cancer Coalition.
The Sussex County Cancer Coalition set up an area outside of the Newton Pool in Memory Park for "Choose Your Cover", where locals could stop by for the free skin cancer screening, and to receive education about the dangers of sun exposure.
“It’s [skin cancer] the only one increasing,” said Helen Homeijer, the Sussex County Cancer Coalition Coordinator.
Homeijer said Sussex County is ranked number five in the state in terms of the incidences of skin cancer, and especially Melanoma, the most aggressive and dangerous type, which in some cases, can lead to death.
“Today is between a 9 and 10,” Homeijer said, pointing out the sign indicating the UV index for the day, and posted by their station, and the pool. “You have to take extra safety.”
The UV Index measures the sun’s strength on a particular day, which can climb to an 11 and higher. The breakdown is as follows: UV Index of two or less is considered “Low”, of three to five is categorized as “Moderate”, six to eight is “High”, eight to 10 is “Very High”, and 11 and more considered “Extreme”.
On Saturday, with the UV Index between an eight and 10, sunbathers were cautioned to apply sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and seek shade.
Wunderground.com is a site that provides a UV Forecast. Click here to see your region’s UV Forecast.
“If decreasing your UV exposure, you’re minimizing the risk of skin cancer,” Homeijer explained.
Nurses were on site yesterday from the North Jersey Dermatological, Center, P.C., and Affiliated Dermatologists & Dermatological Surgeons, P.A., taking those who stopped by for a private skin care screening, and, if the nurses spotted anything suspicious, referred the clients to dermatologists, and provided follow-up recommendations.
The Sussex County Cancer Coalition has also worked closely with some schools in Sussex County including the Merriam Avenue School in Newton, Florence M. Burd in Andover Township, Franklin Elementary School, Hamburg Elementary School, Valley Road Elementary School in Stanhope, and the Vernon after school program. Homeijer said the educational initiative is provided for fourth and fifth grade students. A PowerPoint Presentation, and talk about sun safety are included.
The Sussex County Cancer Coalition had a bevy of giveaway items including sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, bracelets to measure the UV Index (changes color as it increases, and turns purple when it's at its highest) and more.
In terms of sunscreen, one with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 is recommended.
“Sunscreen shouldn’t be less than [SPF] 30,” Homeijer continued.
She said a sunscreen should be classified as “broad spectrum”, covering both UVA and UVB rays. UVA radiation is the type that can cause cancer, specifically Melanoma, and UVB, sunburn and some types of skin cancer.
Homeijer said sunscreen should be applied 20 to 30 minutes prior to heading outdoors, in order for it to become effective.
She also said manufacturers will soon not be allowed to sell sunscreens with an SPF 50 or more, as their effect has proven minimal, with the maximum expense for consumers.
Click here for the Sussex County Cancer Coalition website.