The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents to participate in the 2017 “Choose Your Cover” program, a statewide skin cancer screening, awareness and educational initiative taking place on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Clark.

To promote sun safety and help reduce the risk of skin cancer, the Chronic Disease Coalition of Middlesex and Union Counties and the Clark Health Department will once again provide free skin cancer screenings along with their “Choose Your Cover” message of prevention.

“A few simple precautions can help reduce overexposure to the sun, so please take advantage of this opportunity to learn about skin cancer prevention,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen.  “I’d like to thank the Chronic Disease Coalition and the Township of Clark for partnering with the Freeholder Board to help raise awareness about this important issue.”

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In Union County, the “Choose Your Cover” event will take place at the Clark Community Pool, 201 Oakridge Road, Clark, on Saturday Aug. 5 from noon to 4 p.m.

The first 30 attendees will receive a special gift bag with skin cancer promotional materials.

All attendees will also qualify to enter a drawing for a gift basket. All specials gifts are provided courtesy of the Clark Township Health Department.

Pre-registration is required by calling the Union County Office of Health Management at 908-518-5620. Walk-ins will also be accepted if the schedule permits it.

Overexposure to the sun is a health risk for people of all ages and races. Before you head outdoors this summer, representatives from the Chronic Disease Coalition of Middlesex and Union Counties urge you to take sun safe precautions to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun.

People who work or play outdoors, fair skinned people who sunburn easily, and those with a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in the United States.

Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is one of the most preventable risk factors for melanoma and all types of skin cancer. This is why it is so important to ‘choose your cover’ and reduce your risk accordingly.

Covering up your skin with long sleeve shirts and long pants in tightly woven fabrics can offer a great means of protection for your skin.

Opt for a wide-brimmed hat over a baseball cap for better protection of your head, ears and neck, and wear sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB absorption to protect the eyes from sun damage.

Look for shady areas or avoid the sun, if possible, during the middle of the day when UV rays are the strongest.

Remember to liberally apply a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and reapply frequently, and steer clear of indoor tanning beds which are proven to increase your risk for skin cancer.

For more information about “Choose Your Cover” 2017, please call the Union County Office of Health Management at 908-518-5620.