More than 4,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with skin cancer a year. United Memorial Medical Center and the Genesee County Parks Department are collaborating once again to put a dent in those numbers, giving park visitors an easy way to protect their skin from damaging UV rays that can lead to skin cancer.
Five sunscreen dispensers have been installed throughout Genesee County Park and Forest in East Bethany for the more than 30,000 visitors who use the park’s trails, Interpretive Nature Center, pavilions, and playgrounds.
“Skin cancer is the country’s most commonly diagnosed cancer and there are options for individuals to reduce their risk,” said Laurie Ferrando, UMMC’s Healthy Living Manager. “By putting these sunscreen dispensers in our local parks, we are making sun protection in outdoor settings more accessible.”
This is the second year of the program. Five dispensers were installed last year in the DeWitt Park Recreation Area.* Thousands of visitors, including children who came to the park for educational programs, used the sunscreen before heading out on the park’s trails or water to kayak, canoe or fish.
“If you forget the sunscreen at home you don’t have to worry about burning your skin,” said Paul Osborn, Genesee County Deputy Highway Superintendent of Facilities, Parks, Recreation and Forestry. “These dispensers are small ways we can help make a big difference in preventing skin cancer.”
The NYS Department of Health says the best way to lower your risk for skin cancer is by avoiding exposure to UV radiation, whether from indoor tanning devices or as it reflects off sand, water and snow. And those UV dangers are year-round, even in cloudy weather.
The dispenser project will now continue in Dewitt Park and expand to Genesee County Park supported with funds from Health Research, Inc., and the New York State Department of Health.
Video produced by The Batavian in 2021 when the sunscreen program was launched.