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Free 'Skin Check' Screenings to be Available at Rhode Island Beaches

Between Friday and mid-August, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), Brown Dermatology, and partners statewide will be making free skin cancer screenings available at select Rhode Island parks and beaches on five dates.

"Along with seeking shade and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, getting a skin check is the most important thing you can do to protect against skin cancer," said Interim Director of Health Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH. "Skin cancer can affect people of all skin tones and complexions, which is why all Rhode Islanders should take advantage of these free, convenient skin cancer checks. Cancer screenings have the power to save lives."

"We are once again incredibly excited to be able to participate in this year's Skin Check along with our great partners," noted John C. Kawaoka, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Warren Alpert Medical School. "One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Everyone is at risk, even those with darker skin tones. Sun protection and getting screened is incredibly important. Every year at the beaches we find a number of skin cancers, including melanoma, many of which people had no idea that they had.

"Lifespan is thrilled to partner on another season of Skin Check," said Carrie Bridges Feliz, MPH, Vice President of Lifespan's Community Health and Equity. "Many Rhode Islanders look forward to skin cancer screening at local beaches, parks and festivals, and Lifespan is honored to be able to help facilitate access to this critical preventive service and appropriate follow-up care. This year, we hope to reach a larger audience of people who will benefit from this free screening."

All screenings will be private and provided by dermatologists and dermatology residents affiliated with Brown Dermatology. The first 100 people at each event will be screened. People who require follow-up will be referred for dermatology consults. People are asked to wear bathing suits or clothing that can easily be removed to reveal the areas of skin that they would like checked.

WJAR is the primary sponsor of the Skin Check screening events. Other partners include Brown Dermatology, the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, Lifespan Community Health Institute, RIDOH, and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

Free Cancer Screenings Dates and Locations (link to list below):

Friday, July 14, 2023, 1 3 pm Roger Wheeler State Beach (Sand Hill Cove), Narragansett

Friday, July 21, 2023, 1 3 pm Lincoln Woods State Park, Lincoln

Saturday, July 29, 2023, 11:30 1:30 pm Scarborough State Beach (North), Narragansett

Friday, August 11, 2023, 1 3 pm Easton's Beach, Newport

Friday, August 18, 2023, 1 3 pm East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingstown

If the weather forecast calls for rain, please check online for cancellation updates (link below).

Prevention and Early Detection

The two ways to stay sun safe this summer are prevention (using sunscreen, wearing protective apparel, and staying out of the direct sun) and early detection (getting screened).

Prevention:

- Apply sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more with both UVA and UVB protection ("broad spectrum" sunscreen). Make sure to put it on all areas of skin exposed to the sun, including ears, neck, nose, eyelids, fingers and toes, and reapply every two hours.

- Use water-resistant sunscreen while swimming, boating or exercising;

- Seek shade, especially when the sun rays are the strongest between 10 AM and 2 PM;

- Wear protective clothing, such as UPF clothing (UV resistant);

- Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck;

- Wear wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection where possible;

- Use caution near water, sand and snow because they reflect and intensify the rays of the sun and can increase your chances of sunburn;

- Avoid indoor tanning.

Early detection:

- Talk with your primary care provider about seeing a dermatologist and getting screened for skin cancer, especially if you have a family history of it.

- Watch your moles and skin spots over time. If you see changes in their size, color, number, or thickness, they need to be checked by a primary care provider or a dermatologist.

- Get your kids screened. Skin cancer is a growing concern for children, especially among adolescents. Talk with your child's pediatrician about skin cancer screening.

- If you work outdoors, you should be screened annually by a dermatologist.

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