Sunny Weather Prompts SUNY Health Medical Experts to Warn New Yorkers About Skin Cancer

July 3, 2019

Prevention Requires Vigilance and Early Detection, as Well as Sunscreen and Sunglasses

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SUNY Dermatologist Discusses Skin Cancer Here

ALBANY, July 3, 2019 – SUNY Health medical experts in The State University of New York today urged New Yorkers to be cautious during excessive exposure to the sun and take measures to prevent skin cancer. Preventing skin cancer requires being on the lookout for changes in the skin. Skin cancer occurs in stages, and early detection can help prevent the disease from advancing and spreading.

“With the warm weather, people are spending more time out in the sun and raising their risk for skin cancer,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “I encourage all New Yorkers to check their skin regularly and to take preventive measures to guard against overexposure. If they see something suspicious, they should talk to their doctors or consult dermatologists at SUNY, who are trained to recognize skin cancers and treat them accordingly.”

“Skin cancer continues to be a devastating health problem that jeopardizes the lives of thousands of Americans every year,” said Ricardo Azziz, MD, SUNY’s chief officer of academic health and hospital affairs. “Our medical professionals at SUNY Health can help patients spot and diagnose unusual lesions that require prompt treatment.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Approximately one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer and highly curable, if caught early and removed. Melanoma is much less common, but is potentially deadly if it spreads to other parts of the body. Treatment requires removing the cancerous lesion.

The risk for skin cancer is higher in people who are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation from the sun or indoor tanning beds. People who have blue or green eyes, and light or freckled complexions are at greater risk for skin cancer, but the disease can occur in anyone, even in people with dark skin. Having a family or personal history of skin cancer also raises your risk for skin cancer.

Warning signs of skin cancer include changes in the size, shape or color of a mole, a new growth on the skin, or a sore that does not heal. People are urged to check their skin regularly and to look for such changes. If detected, you should call a dermatologist for a thorough skin exam.

The best protection against skin cancer is to limit exposure to the sun by staying in the shade or under cover; wearing clothing that can keep out the sun’s rays; and applying sunscreens with SPF of 30 or higher and reapplying it every two hours. The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends the use of water resistant and broad-spectrum sunscreens, which protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

The doctors at SUNY Optometry also remind people to protect their eyes. SUNY Optometry Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael McGovern, and his team of eye doctors caution about the impact of sun exposure, “Everyone should be wearing sunscreen and protecting themselves against UV damage, and this includes the skin around their eyes and the eye itself. Approximately 5-10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids, with the lower eyelid most commonly affected. Yet even those who apply proper sunscreen to their face often neglect their eyelids due to burning and sensitivity. While most sunscreens are safe to apply to the eyelids, stick sunscreens work particularly well and there are also nonirritating formulations available for use around the eyes. In addition, proper-fitting sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and wide brimmed hats are essential to protect the entire eye. We must also keep in mind that most sun damage happens from exposure during normal daily activities and children spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. It is very important to get them practicing good habits early, as this will help protect against skin cancer and other sun-related damage including cataracts, growths on the surface of the eye and macular degeneration as they get older.”

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About SUNY Optometry
Founded in 1971 and located in New York City, the State University of New York College of Optometry is a leader in education, research, and patient care, offering the Doctor of Optometry degree as well as MS and PhD degrees in vision science. The College conducts a robust program of basic, translational and clinical research and has 65 affiliated clinical training sites. SUNY Optometry is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; its four-year professional degree program and residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. All classrooms, research facilities and the University Eye Center, which is one of the largest optometric outpatient facilities in the nation, are located on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in midtown Manhattan.To learn more about SUNY Optometry, visit

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

Media Contact: Dawn Rigney, 212.938.5601,