PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 16, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Choose Your Cover: Free Skin Cancer Screenings Offered At Six New Jersey Beach Locations This Weekend

Throughout the summer, the New Jersey Department of Health is promoting Choose Your Cover initiative at parks and beaches across the state and along the Jersey Shore to remind all residents to take precautions to prevent skin cancer and get screened for early signs of the disease. The campaign is a reminder that early detection saves lives.

Skin cancer is currently the most common form of cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 76,100 cases of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, will be diagnosed nationwide in 2014. An estimated 2,590 of those diagnoses will be in New Jersey.

"Summer is a great time to be outdoors enjoying the Garden State's beautiful beaches and parks, pools, backyards and playgrounds," said Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "However, overexposure to the sun is a health risk for people of all ages and races. Young children especially need protection from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, and infants should not be exposed to the mid-day sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Start good habits of wearing sunscreen, hat and sunglasses early."

Through Choose Your Cover, the New Jersey Regional Chronic Disease Coalitions, sponsored by grants from the Department's Office of Cancer Control and Prevention (OCCP), are again bringing free skin cancer screenings, complimentary sunscreen and a wealth of vital skin safety information directly to the at-risk population of people who spend extended time in the sun. Physicians, nurses, hospitals, health departments, community organizations, municipalities, lifeguards, corporations and volunteers have joined together to reduce the risk of skin cancer in New Jersey.

Sun smart precautions include using sunscreen with a SPF factor of at least 30 and wearing protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Families should adopt these good habits and limit their time in the sun especially when the sun is at its strongest.

More than 30 screening events were scheduled across the State between late April and mid-August for Choose Your Cover 2014. July is the peak month for the program.

This Saturday, July 19th, beach goers can take advantage of any one of six free Choose Your Cover skin cancer screening events along the Jersey Shore in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Screenings are scheduled from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at these locations: 

  • Belmar Beach, Ocean at 5th Avenue
  • Bradley Beach, Brinley Avenue and Boardwalk
  • Sea Bright Municipal Beach, 1099 Ocean Avenue
  • Brick Beach III, 440 Rte. 35 North, Brick, NJ
  • Island Beach State Park, Central Avenue, Seaside Park - 1st ocean beach
  • Ship Bottom, Long Beach Island at 20th Street's beach end 

Other opportunities available during the remaining weeks of the campaign include: 

Perth Amboy WIC Office, 313 State Street, #704 - July 25, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Sea Isle City, Promenade @ JFK Boulevard - July 26, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Long Branch, Great Lawn - July 26, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Ventnor, Newport Avenue Gazebo - August 2, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Phillipsburg, American Legion, 321 Marshall Street - August 6,

Brigantine, 34th Street Beach - August 9, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Belvidere, St. Mary's Church, 408 Third Street - August 11,

Whippany, Bee Meadow Pool, N. Pond Road - August 12, 2 - 6 p.m.

Middlesex, Municipal Pool, Market Street - August 13, 12 - 3 p.m.

The Choose Your Cover initiative has screened more than 8,200 people since 2008. Of those screened, more than 3,040 people were referred for further evaluation to their healthcare providers or to a healthcare provider identified for them. To learn more about Choose Your Cover, visit http://www.state.nj.us/health/ccp or http://www.chooseyourcover.org/.