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Free Skin Cancer Screenings to be Available at Rhode Island Beaches

Between tomorrow and the end of 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 six dates.

"Along with using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more and seeking shade, getting a skin check is the most important thing you can do to protect against skin cancer this summer," 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. A cancer screening has the power to save a life."

"We are thrilled to be able to participate in Skin Check again after having to cancel it the last few years due to COVID-19," John C. Kawaoka, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Warren Alpert Medical School. "Getting screened is incredibly important as one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Every year at the beaches we find a number of skin cancers, including melanoma, many of which people had no idea that they had."

"After a pandemic pause, Lifespan is excited to resume free skin cancer screenings at local beaches and parks," said Carrie Bridges Feliz, MPH, Vice President of Lifespan's Community Health and Equity. "We are especially focused this year on reaching a more diverse audience and when needed, to provide the extensive follow-up to ensure that anyone with an abnormal result receives the care they need."

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.

WJAR is the primary sponsor of the screening events. Other partners include the Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island, Lifespan Community Health Institute, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and the Roger Williams Park Conservancy.

Free Cancer Screenings Dates And locations

Narragansett - Scarborough North State Beach Saturday, July 16th, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 970 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, RI 02882 *Spanish language interpreters available

Narragansett - Roger W. Wheeler State Beach Friday, July 22nd, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 970 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, RI 02882

Lincoln - Lincoln Woods Freshwater Beach Saturday, July 30th, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 101 Table Rock Rd., Lincoln, RI 02865 (At the beach) *Spanish language interpreters available

Newport - Easton's Beach (First Beach) Friday, August 12th, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 175 Memorial Blvd., Newport, RI 02840

South Kingstown - East Matunuck State Beach Friday, August 19th, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 950 Succotash Rd., South Kingstown, RI 02881

Providence - Roger Williams Park Friday, August 26th, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907 (Broad St. entrance) *parking available at baseball field lot *Spanish language interpreters available

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.