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Blue Ribbon Foundation, Pocono Medical Center Offer Skin Cancer Screenings

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
May 4, 2011

May is National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

May 4, 2011, Wilkes-Barre, PA — Pocono Medical Center is marking national Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month in May by promoting its ambitious year-long screening program aimed at reaching 250 uninsured residents by summer’s end.

Nearly one in five Americans will develop skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in America and in Pennsylvania. Thanks to a nearly $10,000 grant from The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Pocono Medical Center is able to serve local residents who might not otherwise have access to screenings.

The medical center’s "Skin Cancer Screenings and Education for the Uninsured/Under-insured" program helps individuals of all ages who are financially at risk. Since the program launched, a physician’s assistant in the hospital’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Office has given 30-minute educational sessions and free head-to-toe exams to more than three dozen Monroe County residents.

"In Victorian times, people covered up because sun tans were associated with being a laborer," said Beth Taylor, Director of the Pocono Medical Center’s Wellness Institute. "Today, a tan is mistakenly associated with ‘health’ and affluence, but too many people fail to recognize the sun’s dangers or see the damage it can inflict just below the skin."

Skin cancer accounts for one of every three cancer diagnoses in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Health. In Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s 13-county coverage area, doctors diagnosed 1,129 cases of skin cancer between 2003 and 2007, the year Congress designated May as Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Nearly 300 individuals were diagnosed in the Poconos, including 122 in Monroe, 87 in Carbon, 43 in Pike and 38 in Wayne counties.

"Skin cancer can be deadly, but with the right education and simple lifestyle changes, it’s one of the most preventable and treatable cancers if it’s caught early," said Cynthia A. Yevich, Executive Director of The Blue Ribbon Foundation. "We’re pleased to provide the funding to help Pocono Medical Center expand its screening program for the uninsured."

Through the free screening program, Pocono Medical Center has referred three potential cases of skin cancer for treatment. But the facility doesn’t just catch skin cancer. During the exam, the physician’s assistant also explains the importance of hydration, shade and sun screen.

To reach more community members, the medical center plans to team up with community organizations including the United Way of Monroe County and the Pocono Family YMCA. For more information about the examinations, or to schedule an appointment call 570-420-6220 or email btaylor@pmchealthsystem.org.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 550,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations BCNEPA serves.

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

Media Contact:
Anthony Matrisciano
570-200-6310
Anthony.Matrisciano@bcnepa.com

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Anthony Matrisciano
Phone: 570.200.6310
Cell: 570.574.0050
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