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The NYCDCC Welfare Fund and MSK Direct Presents: Be Sun Smart

The NYCDCC Welfare Fund and MSK Direct Presents: Be Sun Smart

July 15, 2021

Healthy skin starts by being sun smart to protect yourself and reduce sun exposure. Some of the essential steps you can take to keep your skin healthy are to keep an eye out for changing spots and moles during monthly self-exams and to apply sunscreen daily. By increasing your skin IQ, you can be a proactive participant in reducing your chance of developing various forms of skin cancer and detecting it early.

The NYCDCC Welfare Fund partners with Memorial Sloan Kettering to offer MSK Direct, a program that provides guided access to expert clinical care as well as practical and emotional support to keep you healthy and well. We encourage you to use these skin care tips below to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of skin cancer. 

Take Action by Practicing Skin Self-Awareness 

Self-examination can detect skin cancer at the earliest stage, when it is most easily cured. Most skin cancers are noticed by the individual or their primary care doctors and then verified by a dermatologist.  

Self-examination tips 

  • Grab a hand mirror and stand in front of a full-length mirror while doing a head-to-toe skin self-exam each month to check for spots.  
  • Examine your entire body, including ears, scalp, neck back and buttocks.
  • Bend elbows, twist arms around, closely examine hands, chest and armpits.
  • Look at the backs of your thighs, knees, calves, and ankles.
  • Check the bottoms of your feet and between your toes. 

Be Smart to Reduce Your Risk

  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher at least 20 minutes (if using chemical sunscreen) before going outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. 
  • Protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Stay out of the sun from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, when rays are the strongest. 
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, toweling off, or sweating. 
  • Seek out shade whenever possible. 
  • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. 
  • Avoid indoor tanning machine. 

Get to Know your Skin by Learning the ABCDEs of Skin Cancer 

Follow the ABCDE method when examining suspicious moles or spots.

Asymmetry: The halves don’t match up.

Border: The edges are ragged and uneven.

Color: The shade is different than other moles.

Diameter: The width is more than six millimeters (pencil eraser).

Evolution: The size, shape, color, or surface has changed.

To read more about skin cancer awareness and how to be sun smart, visit MSK Direct’s website dedicated to NYCDCC members at

If you or a loved one has been impacted by cancer, please call the NYCDCC-dedicated MSK Direct phone line at (833) 786-3368 or (646) 449-1541.