In conjunction with May’s Melanoma Awareness Month, IMPACT Melanoma, is pleased to continue work in Old Orchard Beach community thanks to funding granted to them by Maine Cancer Foundation.
“As a beachfront community, the summer season is our busiest time for staff and visitors,” said Old Orchard Beach Director of Human Resources and Communications, Fran Beaulieu. “The Town wants to be sure that not only our staff but everyone is safe while they are with us. When Kim McLaughlin, the Town Clerk, brought this sunscreen dispenser program to our attention, there was no doubt that we wanted to partner with Impact Melanoma. To us safety isn’t just a word, it’s a practice!”
The grant was originally issued in 2020, but work was curbed due to the national COVID-19 pandemic which all but shut down the town last summer. Work has resumed and this year sunscreen dispensers have been installed at locations throughout the beach community, such as:
- Police Department
- Fire Department
- Public Works Department
- Recreation Department
- Waste Water Facility
- Town Hall
- Chamber of Commerce
- Palace Playland
- As well as a portable unit that will be found at different locations throughout the summer and into early fall
“Each Town facility has a dispenser to remind staff that sun safety is important and we urge them to slather the sunscreen before heading out the door. Cancer has touched everyone in some way, and skin cancer is the most common type. It takes a few minutes to provide hours of protection for our skin.
The Town has also partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and Palace Playland to have dispensers available for public use. We are excited to add a new way to educate people to protect their skin.”
Maine Cancer Foundation’s grant was originally offered as part of their Challenge Cancer 2020 initiative, which was aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality in Maine. Since 2015, they have invested $15 million in support of this initiative, focused on prevention, early detection and screening, and access to care for all Mainers.
Maine Cancer Foundation is committed to reducing cancer across the state, through statewide grant investments in cancer prevention, screening, and access to care. Maine Cancer Foundation is proud to partner with Impact Melanoma and the Town of Old Orchard Beach on this crucial sun safety campaign throughout Old Orchard Beach. “95% of skin cancers can be prevented,” said Executive Director Cheryl Tucker, “and this partnership provides the perfect opportunity to protect outdoor workers, beachgoers, and visitors, and help reduce the risk of cancer.”
Data has shown that skin cancer rates are growing at epidemic numbers. Outdoor workers, and the general populous who spend time outdoors, are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. While these statistics are sobering, there is good news: studies now show that the regular use of sunscreen can reduce the risk of melanoma by up to 80%. Prevention methods and sun safety protocols go a long way in improving the health and safety of Maine residents. However, awareness about the importance of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer is still lacking. Our study of sunscreen use in Maine reveals that 44% of the 385 participants surveyed don’t worry about getting a sunburn and that sunscreen use is lower in all seasons in Maine as compared to national usage.
One way to decrease skin cancer is to educate on prevention strategies to change behaviors, leading to healthier habits over the course of a person’s lifetime. Education can come in the form of public service announcements, direct instruction, signage on sunscreen dispensers, etc. Education leads to both prevention and detection. Providing physical prevention, in the form of sunscreen, is one way to reduce the incidence of cancer. IMPACT Melanoma, which has been awarded Maine Cancer Foundation Grant since 2018, has taken a proactive approach to help decrease the incidences of skin cancer throughout the state.
“We’re very appreciative of this ongoing relationship with Old Orchard Beach and Maine Cancer Foundation,” said IMPACT Melanoma Executive Director, Deb Girard. “We’ve made some really great progress within this community and have helped to spread awareness of the importance of proper skin safety throughout the great state of Maine. Together we’re saving lives and making a significant IMPACT that is creating a beneficial ripple effect.”
“The Town of Old Orchard Beach, where we not only welcome residents, staff, and tourists, but we want to protect them, too,” said Old Orchard Beach Town Clerk, Kim McLaughlin in closing.
ABOUT MAINE CANCER FOUNDATION:
Maine Cancer Foundation is dedicated to reducing cancer incidence and mortality rates in Maine. 100% of funds raised by the Foundation are used to benefit the people of Maine. MCF leads a state-wide effort to advance the most promising and effective cancer-fighting efforts available to the people of Maine through a combination of grant-based financial support and coalition building.
For more information about Maine Cancer Foundation please visit: www.mainecancer.org