Prevention, protection stressed during Melanoma Awareness Month

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MINEOLA -

Those who have been affected by a potentially deadly form of skin cancer told their stories on what is known as Melanoma Monday.

Colette Coyne has made it her mission to educate Long Island about being sun smart. Her daughter was 29 years old when she was diagnosed with melanoma. She died nearly six months later.

Coyne joined Nassau officials Monday in Mineola to spread the word about Melanoma Awareness Month.

"I could not believe that on Long Island, the land of beaches, we didn't have any awareness about skin cancer," says Coyne.

Also in attendance was Valerie Benkov, a skin cancer survivor of one year from Patchogue.

"I was a sun worshiper, I baby-oiled, I went to tanning salons and did wrong things. I was not educated," says Benkov.

Some tips to prevent skin cancer include avoiding unprotected sun exposure, using high SPF sunscreen, performing monthly self-checks and seeing a dermatologist annually.

"The cure rate has been increasing, but the best cure is prevention," says Dr. Ted Daly, of Garden City Dermatology.

The Colette Coyne Melanoma Awareness Campaign is holding a Skin Cancer 5K Walk/Run at Eisenhower Park May 19.

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