Reaching for New Goals
When I first started seeing patients with skin cancer back in the 1960s and ’70s, they would often react to their diagnosis with shock and even rage. “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me the sun wasn’t good for me?” they’d ask.
That generation was raised with the idea that a “deep, dark” tan was sexy and healthy, as well as a sign of affluence and the ability to travel to exotic places. Advertising campaigns reinforced that notion. So did movies. Remember James Bond watching the bronzed, bikini-clad Ursula Andress emerging from the surf in Dr. No?
It’s hard to fight those images, but we did. Since The Skin Cancer Foundation was created in 1979 as the first charitable organization to focus exclusively on skin cancer, we have made enormous strides in helping people understand the damage done by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Today, people know the danger, and we had everything to do with that.
“We must do everything possible to reduce
the prevalence of SKIN CANCER. And we will.”
Awareness is not enough, though. About 5.4 million cases of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (the most common types of skin cancer) will be diagnosed this year. And there will be more than 76,000 new cases of melanoma, with more than 10,000 deaths from this form of skin cancer.
We must do everything possible to reduce the prevalence of skin cancer. And we will.
The Foundation has a new leader to help us achieve this. Earlier this year Dan Latore took over as executive director to succeed Mary Stine, who guided so much great work in her 10 years in that role before retiring in December. Dan, who came to the Foundation in 2006, previously led the Corporate Partnerships department. Dan and I talk often about the direction of the Foundation. He recently brought up something that struck a chord with me. He said that almost everything the public knows about sun protection can be traced back to The Skin Cancer Foundation. He thinks we’ve been too modest about that.
It’s true that we’ve been providing this valuable information to the public for almost four decades. Now it’s time to redouble our efforts to motivate the public to take action and protect themselves. We’re talking about a systemic change in behavior that will ultimately make a difference.
An interesting fact about Dan is that he played football at Rutgers University and even had a short stay in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. So he’s used to taking on big challenges in pursuing important goals. He always persevered, pushed through and did what he had to do.
I’ve taken on a challenge or two myself over the years. In fact, you can read all about it in a new profile about me. I think it’s an enjoyable, candid look at my life and what influenced me to accomplish more than I ever dreamed possible when I was a boy. You’ll see that I never hesitated to challenge the conventional wisdom.
I have every confidence that Dan will do the same. I know that under his leadership, our phenomenal team at The Skin Cancer Foundation will lead us to reach our goals and surpass them.