Somerset County Celebrates Skin Cancer Awareness Month with a Free Screening

SOMERVILLE – Freeholder Deputy Director Mark Caliguire, public health and safety department liaison, would like residents to learn about the importance of skin cancer awareness and to share the information with as many family and friends as they can.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month is an annual event held in the month of May.

Somerset County and representatives from the Regional Chronic Disease Coalition of Somerset and Morris Counties (RCDC) are working together to get the word out about skin cancer prevention.

Residents are invited to a free cancer screening on Saturday, May 17, from 9 to 11 a.m. The screening will be at Somerset Medical Center (SMC), located at 110 Rehill Ave. in Somerville. This screening is for anyone who has not seen a dermatologist in the last two years and has not been diagnosed with skin cancer.  The screening will be conducted by dermatologists Dr. Alissa Fox and Dr. Smita Agarwal.  To schedule an appointment, call SMC at 908-685-2814.  This screening is being offered in collaboration with the RCDC and Somerset Medical Center.

“More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in over two million people annually.  One of 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime,” said Freeholder Caliguire.  “Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and melanoma is the most curable form of cancer, when found early.  That is why it is vital that we continue to educate the public and raise awareness about this disease,” he said.

“Activity is a key part of a healthy lifestyle.  Here in Somerset County we have many wonderful parks, golf courses, trails and concerts to enjoy outdoors.  Going outdoors for even a brief period each day keeps us healthy,” he said.  “However, taking proper steps to prepare yourself before heading outdoors helps to shield your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays that cause damage and can lead to skin cancer.”

Following are simple steps to protect yourself from damage from the sun:

·       Learn risk factors for skin cancer

·       Conduct a monthly self-exam, because if you can spot it, you can stop it!

·       Learn what to look for on your skin and scalp 

·       Go for an annual skin cancer screening from a healthcare professional

·       Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 everyday, year-round

·       Apply sunscreen properly and often, at least 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply more often if you are sweating or are in the water 

·       Wear protective clothing, hats and wraparound sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection

Additionally, it’s important to know that tanning indoors or outdoors results in aging skin and skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.

The RCDC, which is made possible through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health Office of Cancer Control and Prevention, strives to prevent premature death and disability from chronic disease, especially cancer, through advocacy, education and community outreach.

For more information, contact Lucille Y-Talbot, Somerset County Health Department public health consultant coordinator, at (908) 203-6077. 

For more information about skin cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website at