SCHAUMBURG, IL--(Marketwire -05/07/12)- Doing a little detective work can go a long way in finding skin cancer, the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States, at its earliest, most treatable stage. However, a new survey found that many people do not know how to spot skin cancer and are unaware of their risk of developing the disease.
In an effort to increase the public's understanding of skin cancer and motivate people to change their behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) today launched the new SPOT Skin Cancer™ public awareness initiative. 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.
"Unlike other types of cancer that can't be seen by the naked eye, skin cancer shows obvious signs on the surface of the skin that can be easily detected by properly examining it," said board-certified dermatologist Daniel M. Siegel, MD, FAAD, president, American Academy of Dermatology. "The goal of SPOT Skin Cancer™ is to help save lives by educating the public on how to protect themselves from the sun and how to examine their skin for suspicious spots."
The need for a comprehensive skin cancer resource is evident based on the public's general lack of understanding of detecting and preventing skin cancer. In fact, 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. Siegel. "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.
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.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).
About the Academy's Survey
The survey was conducted by Relevant Research, Inc. of Chicago from December 29, 2011, to January 4, 2012. A total of 1,151 adults age 18 and older completed the online survey. Data were weighted by sex, age, race/ethnicity and education level based on the US Census Current Population Survey (released December 2011).
To view in a media-rich format, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2012/aad/melanoma_monday/index.html