By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Don’t forget your sunscreen. This is the message that Kelly Scangas and the Northboro Junior Woman’s Club (NJWC) want to relay as people start to spend more time outdoors this season. It’s also why there is a new sunscreen dispenser at Ellsworth-McAfee Park on Route 135.
Scangas and her mother Victoria Killeen are both melanoma survivors. Killeen, a member of NJWC, is the one who initiated the idea of the park dispenser after seeing similar dispensers in Boston.
Scangas recently shared her story with members of NJWC and told them why it is so important to use sunscreen. The group was quickly interested in sponsoring the effort and Ellsworth-McAfee Park was the ideal location as it hosts so many families throughout the day.
The one dispenser with refills cost $350 and made its debut May 1, the start of skin cancer detection and prevention month. It is located near the snack shack and will contain 30 SPF organic sunscreen.
The American Cancer Society reports that each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
One sunburn every two years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer. If detected and treated early, it can be cured.
Awareness is key. Scangas wears sunscreen every day and has had 47 biopsies since being diagnosed with Stage 1 Melanoma in 2004. She sees her dermatologist four times a year; it is always a worry between doctor visits wondering if cancer cells will return.
“Both the Northboro Junior Woman’s Club and I would like to see the dispensers at schools and other parks,” Scangas said. “Nurses and teachers can’t apply sunscreen to kids and there is little shade at some of the school playgrounds.”
She is optimistic that young kids are used to applying sunscreen, and they are more aware of the skin damage the sun can cause unlike the older generation who used tanning beds and baby oil to tan.
“If I can prevent sunburn in one kid, then I will be happy,” she said.