May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. The Florida Department of Health, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection, is launching a new sun safety project called Sun’s Up, Cover Up targeting visitors to Florida’s beautiful state parks.
“Sun safety prevents skin cancer for Florida’s residents and visitors who enjoy being outside in the Sunshine State,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “This partnership is a natural fit for our agencies and helps to share actionable health information with park visitors.”
Skin cancer is defined as cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin, and melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is caused by too much exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation). It is estimated that one in five people will develop skin cancer in his lifetime. Although melanomas account for only a small percentage of skin cancer, they are more likely than other types of skin cancer to spread to other parts of the body and account for more than 9,700 of the nearly 13,000 skin cancer deaths each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
In Florida, it is estimated there will be approximately 5,480 new melanomas diagnosed and 820 deaths due to melanoma in 2015. The number of Americans who have had skin cancer at some point in the last three decades is estimated to be higher than the number for all other cancers combined.
As part of the Sun’s Up, Cover Up pilot project, Park Rangers across the state have received training about the dangers of too much sun exposure and how to incorporate sun safe practices. Visitors entering one of the 10 participating state parks will receive sunscreen, lip balm and a window cling for their car with tips about how to stay safe in the sun.
“Helping our visitors safely enjoy our parks and Florida’s famous sunshine is very important,” said Donald Forgione, director of the Florida Park Service. “We are pleased to participate in Sun’s Up, Cover Up to help our visitors learn how to protect themselves.”
Participating parks include:
- Andrews State Park, Panama City, Bay County
- Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, St. George Island, Franklin County
- Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, Nassau County
- Little Talbot Island State Park, Jacksonville, Duval County
- Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne, Brevard/Indian River County
- Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, St. Johns County
- Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Naples, Collier County
- Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, Pinellas County
- Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Monroe County
- Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Miami-Dade County
To learn more about the project and tips for staying safe in the sun visit:www.floridahealth.gov/sunsup.
FWC Division of Law Enforcement