March 30, 2015
SLCoHD, Fourth Street Clinic Collect “Sun Safety” Items for Homeless
(Salt Lake County)—In April, the Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD), Fourth Street Clinic, and Salt Lake County Library Services will partner to collect donations to assist the valley’s homeless population in preventing skin cancer.
From April 1–30, donation boxes will accept new items of the following:
- Sunscreen (unexpired, unscented, SPF 30 or higher, hand-sized; no spray or aerosol, please)
- Sunglasses (with UV protection preferred)
- Hats (wide-brimmed preferred)
- Lip balm (with UV protection)
- Reusable water bottles
Donation boxes will be located throughout Salt Lake County:
- All Salt Lake County Library branches
(Visit SLCoLibrary.org for locations)
- Salt Lake County Government Center
(2001 South State Street, south building atrium)
- Huntsman Cancer Institute, Cancer Learning Center
(1950 East Circle of Hope, 6th floor)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah—with a rate of 22.5–33.5 per 100,000 people—has one of the highest rates of melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer) in the country. Utah’s high altitude and extensive outdoor recreation opportunities increase Utahns' exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV exposure, one of the major risk factors for skin cancer (especially melanoma), comes from the sun as well as from artificial devices like tanning lamps and beds.
Because homeless individuals spend more time outdoors, they have increased exposure to UV radiation and are therefore at increased risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, as many homeless individuals do not have health insurance, they have few opportunities for diagnosis and treatment.
The homeless community’s primary medical resource is the Fourth Street Clinic, a comprehensive clinic that serves 4,200 homeless men, women and children with 25,000 medical, mental health, substance abuse, dental, case management, and pharmacy visits each year. The Fourth Street Clinic will distribute the items collected in the April “sun safety” drive.
"This charitable drive also serves as a sun safety reminder for all Utahns,” said Terri Sory, SLCoHD chronic disease prevention manager. “Now that spring is here and we’re spending more time outdoors, we all need to be vigilant in protecting our skin.”
Sory says the best way to stop the development of skin cancer is prevention:
- Avoid sun tanning and tanning beds
- Stay in the shade when possible
- Cover up with long sleeves and pants when outside
- Wear sunscreen, hats, and sun glasses when in the sun