Schoolchildren Are the Winners in Annual Poster Contest to Highlight Skin Cancer Prevention

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 28, 2010) - Sixth grader Angelina M. Girgis from Rushmore Avenue School, Carle Place, Nassau County, is the state winner of the 2010 "SunWise with SHADE" Annual Poster Contest., the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced today.

The winning poster and 13 grade-level finalists were selected from 7,672 entries from students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The purpose of the contest is to raise children's awareness about skin cancer.

Ms. Girgis will receive a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble and a digital camera. Her poster was entered in the national poster competition sponsored by the SHADE Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to skin cancer prevention.

The poster of first-grade winner Anthony J. Pasquarello from Our Lady of Grace, Brooklyn, also was one of five selected from all grade K-3 submissions nationally to receive an additional prize.

The other New York State "SunWise with SHADE" Annual Poster Contest winners are:

  • Kindergarten: Kathryn Papagianopoulos, William Spyropoulos School of St. Nicholas, Flushing, Queens;
  • Second grade: Justyna Jakubowska, P.S. 153, Maspeth, Queens;
  • Third grade: Sean Cabrera, Our Lady of Grace, Brooklyn;
  • Fourth grade: John Criscione, P.S. 204, Brooklyn;
  • Fifth grade: Kayla Berhalter, Iroquois Intermediate School, Elma, Erie County;
  • Seventh grade: Nusrat Jahan, Longwood Junior High School, Middle Island, Suffolk County;
  • Eighth grade: Kelly Noh, MS 216 George J. Ryan, Fresh Meadows, Queens;
  • Honorable Mentions: Jasmine Bauza, third grade, Garrett A. Morgan P.S. 132 X, Bronx; Jacquelyn Apostolo, eighth grade, MS 216 George J. Ryan, Fresh Meadows; Julia Milbrandt, seventh grade, Clarence Middle School, Clarence, Erie County Anjali Devjani, eighth grade, West Hollow Middle School, Melville;Suffolk County; and Siyeong Yu, fourth grade, PS 94Q, Little Neck, Queens.

A special congratulation goes to the William Spyropoulos School in Queens, for submitting the greatest number of posters per student body. The school will receive a special prize from the SHADE Foundation for their high rate of student participation.

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 be fatal. Annually, approximately 7,800 deaths are attributed to this disease in the US. More than 2,800 cases of melanoma are reported each year in New York State.

Children are especially vulnerable to dangerous sun exposure which can result in blistering sunburns that double the risk for skin cancer in adulthood. The majority of lifetime sun exposure occurs before age 18. Up to 90 percent of skin cancer cases are attributed to UV 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 these steps become habits early in life. To reduce exposure to the sun and the risk of skin cancer:

  • Avoid direct sunlight between 10a.m. and 4p.m., when the sun's UV rays are strongest. Burns can occur even on cloudy days.
  • Seek shade during peak sunlight 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 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and again after swimming or perspiring.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Avoid indoor tanning devices.

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., also announced that the Skin Cancer Project of DOH's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program was honored with the Partnership Award by the SHADE Foundation of America. The SHADE Foundation is recognizing the project staff for their dedication to the annual poster contest, and, in particular, for the, "impressive response from New York schools.They called the New York project "a model campaign for others to follow."

Commissioner Daines congratulated project coordinator Roxanne Brady and the staff, students, teachers and administrators who help implement this project.

For more information on how to prevent skin cancer and the poster contest, please visit http://www.nyhealth.gov/diseases/cancer/skin/ .