Scripps Health Offers Free Skin Cancer Screenings to Public Safety Officers

Dozens of public safety officers received free skin cancer screenings from Scripps Health on Monday.

Scripps Health has offered free screenings to San Diego Lifeguards, firefighters and police officers for more than 10 years.

Chris Van Gorder, President and CEO of Scripps Health told NBC 7 that as a former police officer, he knows how much time first responders spend in the sun, making it necessary to get the skin screening.

Gorder says he had also developed skin cancer in his hand but it was caught in the early stages and treated successfully. He advised first responders to wear sunscreen and cover up when being exposed to the sun.

“Last year, I know we caught a couple of skin cancers, one significant one. And if we catch it early, we can get these public servants treated and back doing what they want to do and what they need to do for all of us,” he said.

Gorder told NBC 7 about 75 first responders, including firefighters and lifeguards were screened on Monday. But he says he would like to see more police officers.

“Part of this is an awareness thing. If we can remind our firefighters and public safety people to wear sunscreen, protect yourself, and get routine skin cancer screenings, then this should be a problem for you,” he said.

Rick Wurts, San Diego Lifeguard Chief says he’s grateful for the free screenings since they do spend a lot of time in the sun, responding to rescues and emergency situations.

“[Scripps Health] volunteer their time and their talents and they come out here to work with lifeguards, firefighters, police officers -- have a look at their skin and then give them some advice about what they can do next to treat any problems they might have,” Wurts said.

Scripps Health will be doing screening for two more days.

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