As the sun starts to heat up on us here in Florida, this is a life-saving hot topic! Today is Melanoma Monday and kicks off Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. A recent survey shows that people still don’t know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and that early detection can save their lives. We have young kids getting deadly melanoma, so if you think skin cancer is only for the life-long sun worshipers, you’re wrong. And that misperception could kill you or a loved one.
You’ll see this year that sunscreens must be more specific. They can’t just say “waterproof” on the label; they need to tell you how long it will last so you know when to reapply. It was determined that consumers had a fall sense of security about their sunscreens and so they’d go all day with one application. Truth is, they need to reapply many times in a day.
You’ll also see which sunscreens are Full Spectrum, meaning they block UVA and UVB rays. You need to block out both of them. Thanks FDA for requiring better labeling.
Today, the American Academy of Dermatology is launching a new public awareness campaign called Spot Skin Cancer. The campaign’s simple tagline – “Prevent. Detect. Live.” – focuses on the positive actions people can take to protect themselves from skin cancer, including seeing a dermatologist when appropriate.
Monday, May 7, is Melanoma Monday® and the official launch of Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month®. Also debuting on Melanoma Monday® is the SPOT Skin Cancer™ program’s new website – www.SpotSkinCancer.org – where visitors can learn how to perform a skin self-exam, download a body mole map for tracking changes in your skin, and find free skin cancer screenings in their area. Those affected by skin cancer also will be able to share their story via the website and download free materials to educate others in their community.
This program was developed in response to a survey that shows people still need more information. Here’s what they say:
The Academy conducted an online survey of adults nationwide which showed:
- Almost three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) did not know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.
- Only half (53 percent) of respondents knew how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer.
- Thirty percent of respondents were either unsure or did not know that skin cancer can be easily treated when caught early.
“When it comes to skin cancer, our survey demonstrates that knowledge is power,” said Dr. Daniel Siegel,MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and president of American Academy of Dermatology. “For example, respondents who know how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer were more than twice as likely to have shown suspicious moles or spots to a medical professional as those who did not know how to spot the warning signs of skin cancer on their skin. In some instances, this knowledge can mean the difference between life and death, which is why it is so important to see a dermatologist if you notice a spot on your skin that is changing, itching or bleeding.”
SKIN CANCER FACTS:
- More than 3.5 million skin cancer cases affecting 2 million people are diagnosed annually.
- Current estimates are that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
- The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.