Nassau Legislature’s Deputy Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, R-East Meadow, and fellow Legislators Rose Marie Walker and Joseph Belesi, along with County Executive Ed Mangano and the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign (CCMAC), announced that May is “Melanoma Awareness Month” in Nassau County.
Skin cancer and Melanoma are the fastest growing cancers in America but can be prevented or cured through early diagnosis. Someone dies hourly from this disease. 2012 statistics show that one in five will get some form of skin cancer.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and has a lifetime risk of 1 in 50. By comparison, in 1935, the disease struck only 1 in 1,500. Few people realize that Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults 20 – 35 year old and second most common among 15-29 years old. Statistics indicate there will be more than 76,250 new cases of Melanoma in the United States and more than 9,180 people will die of this disease, which translates into one death from Melanoma every hour of every day.
“Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, but preventing skin cancer is the best way to beat skin cancer,” said Legislator Gonsalves. “If skin cancer is recognized and treated early, it is nearly 100 percent curable. Be smart, get a head start, and get checked out today.”
“There are certain precursors that will indicate if you’re more susceptible to skin cancer,” said Legislator Joe Belesi. For example, people who are fair skinned or who are breast cancer survivors are more likely to get Melanoma. However, people of color are also at risk. While statistics for African Americans are 20% less, their mortality rate is higher. Not many people are aware that legendary musician, Bob Marley, died from Melanoma. “I urge all residents to get regular check-ups, and if you see anything unusual, visit your doctor immediately,” said Belesi.
“As both a parent and grandparent, I think it is important to educate the younger generations about the dangers of Melanoma,” said Legislator Walker. “Adults should be vigilant about time that they and their children spend outdoors in daylight hours. We tend to forget that even the cloudiest day can have high levels of dangerous UV rays.”
Mrs. Coyne of CCMAC urged the importance of tanning bed safety. The Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign was formed in 1998 after Mrs. Coyne’s thirty-year old daughter died from skin cancer. The foundation’s mission is to raise public awareness about skin cancer/Melanoma, while changing behavior towards excessive sun exposure. For more information on skin cancer prevention, contact the CCMAC at (516) 352-4227.