May12, 2010




Nassau County Health Committee Declares May as “Melanoma Awareness Month”

Legislators Norma Gonsalves, Denise Ford and Rose Marie Walker, along with County Executive Ed Mangano, the Nassau County Legislature’s Health Committee and the Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign (CCMAC), announced that May will be “Melanoma Awareness Month” in Nassau County as well as acknowledging “Don’t Fry Day” the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.

“You have to BE SUN SMART®”, said Legislator Gonsalves. Sunscreen should be worn daily all year round, and not just when going to the beach.  Hats, sunglasses and protective clothing are important when being exposed to damaging UV Rays. Few realize Melanoma is the most common cancer for 15 to 29-year-olds.  A recent study indicates tanning bed use by those under 30 increases their risk of melanoma by 75%.

“Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, but preventing skin cancer is the best way to beat skin cancer,” said Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano.  “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.”

Legislator Denise Ford also stressed other aspects of awareness. “There are certain precursors that will indicate if you’re more susceptible to skin cancer,” said Ford. 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.

“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.”

“CCMAC is proud to collaborate with the American Cancer Society in Nassau County as well as on a National Level,” said Mrs. Coyne.  We are grateful for this collaboration, in addition to the commitment of our Legislators both in the past and present.  Their support of the message of ‘Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention’ is invaluable to the community. All of us working together will truly make a difference.

The Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign was formed in 1998 after Colette 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.

Pictured (l-r):  Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, Alternate Deputy Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves and Mrs. Colette Coyne of The Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign (CCMAC).