12 Children Win Poster Contest to Highlight Skin Cancer Prevention

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 13, 2008) – The New York State Department of Health today announced that eighth-grader Elisabeth Sulger from East Woods School, Oyster Bay, is the state winner of the "SunWise with SHADE" poster contest. The winning poster and 11 grade level finalists were selected from 5,838 entries from students in kindergarten through eighth grade to raise children's awareness about skin cancer.

Elisabeth will receive a $100 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble and an ultraviolet (UV) sun station for her school that collects real-time data on the UV index. She will also compete in the national poster competition sponsored by the SHADE Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to skin cancer prevention. Each of the grade-level finalists will receive a $50 check.

The New York State "SunWise with SHADE" poster contest finalists are:

  • Kindergarten: Joel Yu, Flushing Christian School, Flushing
  • First grade: Mohammad Jawad, P.S. 179, Brooklyn
  • Second grade: Elle Nittinger, Lincoln Street Elementary, Waverly
  • Third grade: Jessica E. Dennehy, PS 94Q, Little Neck
  • Fourth grade: Youssef Bayomi, PS 102, Elmhurst
  • Fifth grade: Nasson "Kareem" Taylor-Skervin, Montessori Magnet School, Albany
  • Sixth grade: Kathleen Huang, William McKinley (IS 259), Brooklyn
  • Seventh grade: Shabab Hussain, North Junior High School, Newburgh
  • Honorable Mentions: Tenzin Lekdhen, fifth grade, PS 102Q, Elmhurst; David Foran, second grade, African Road Elementary School, Vestal; Esther Ahn, fourth grade, PS 94Q, Little Neck

The most common types of skin cancer are the less-deadly basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. However, melanoma can cause the most serious health problems and can prove fatal. Approximately 7,800 people die annually in the United States from this disease. Each year New York receives more than 2,100 reports of melanoma.

Children are especially vulnerable to dangerous sun exposure through blistering childhood sunburns that can double the risk for skin cancer as adults. The majority of lifetime sun exposure occurs before age 18. Up to 90 percent of skin cancer cases are attributed to high ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Approximately one in five children will develop skin cancer as adults.

However, simple steps can be taken to help prevent skin cancer, especially when they become habits early in life.

To reduce exposure to the sun and the risk of skin cancer:

  • Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's ultraviolet rays are strongest. Burns can even occur on cloudy days.
  • Seek shade during peak hours.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts with long pants whenever possible.
  • Use full spectrum (UV-A and UV-B) sunscreen SPF 15 or greater, applying it to skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and again after swimming or perspiring.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Avoid tanning at tanning salons that can increase your risk for skin cancer.

For more information on how to prevent skin cancer please visit the Department's Web site at http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/cancer/skin/.