Celebrate “Melanoma Mondays” this May

Melanoma Mondays are the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) response to the fact that young Americans are not self-screening for skin cancer, namely melanoma, and May is dedicated to melanoma detection and prevention in the US.

The AAD's "Suntelligence: How Sun Smart is Your City?" online survey tested 7,000+ Americans' sensibility and sun IQ with respect to "tanning, sun protection and skin cancer detection" in 26 cities.

Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist and consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina, explained, "each year, substantially more than 1 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States. Like many cancers, skin cancer is highly treatable if caught early before it spreads. In fact, studies show that the five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent - making early detection essential."

On May 17, the AAD announced the survey's disturbing results that around 2,000 individuals have never screened their "skin for changes to moles and other skin blemishes."

The overall analysis showed "more men (32 percent) than women (25 percent) indicated that they never examine their skin. In addition, more young adults 18-29 years old (32 percent) reported never examining their skin than any other age group" and "about three in five respondents (59 percent) had never been examined" by a health-care professionals. Plus 69% of young adults aged 18-29 said they have never been "screened for skin cancer by a health-care provider."

Draelos added, "The fact that younger people are not getting screened for skin cancer is alarming, especially since research shows that melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer - is the most common form of cancer for young adults" aged 25-29 and "the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults" aged 15-29.

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and marks the 25th anniversary of the AAD's National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Screening Program. To encourage frequent self-exams the AAD has created MelanomaMondays.org, a site where individual can find local free skin cancer screenings, learn how to screen yourself, test your "Suntelligence", get daily information via the interactive calendar, and download a body mole map to help you track your moles and spot areas of concern.

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