Screening Tour Potentially Saves 77 lives

New Research Shows Dermatologists Detect Most Skin Cancers

New York, NY (October 19, 2009) - With the help of volunteer dermatologists from across the country, The Skin Cancer Foundation's second annual Road to Healthy Skin Tour, presented by AVEENO and Rite Aid, found 77 suspected melanomas (the deadliest form of skin cancer) this past year. The Tour, which provides free full-body skin cancer screenings and the latest skin cancer information, made 83 stops this summer. A recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology showed that more than half of all melanomas are found through full-body skin examinations conducted by a dermatologist.

"We have always believed that high-risk patients should be screened once a year by a physician," said Perry Robins, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation. "This new study and the suspected skin cancers we found on the tour reinforce what we've known all along." In addition to the 77 suspected melanomas, more than 1,200 possible other skin cancers were detected, including 350 suspected basal cell carcinomas, 113 suspected squamous cell carcinomas, and 661 suspected actinic keratoses, or precancers. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. However, when detected early, it is almost always curable.

WHO'S AT RISK FOR MELANOMA

Everyone is at some risk for melanoma, but increased risk depends on several factors:

Personal History - People who have or have had basal cell carcinoma and/or squamous cell carcinoma are at increased risk for developing melanoma. And people who have already had a melanoma are at increased risk of developing another.

Family History - About one in every ten patients diagnosed with the disease has a family member with a history of melanoma. Each person with a first-degree relative diagnosed with melanoma has a 50 percent greater chance of developing the disease than people who do not have a family history.

Moles - The more moles, the greater your risk for melanoma.

Skin Type - As with all skin cancers, people with fairer skin are at increased risk.

Sun Exposure - Both UVA and UVB rays are dangerous to the skin, and can lead to skin cancer, including melanoma. Having one or more blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life. In addition, people who live in locations that have more sunlight - like Florida, Hawaii, and Australia - develop more skin cancers. About 65 percent of melanoma cases can be attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Tanning Beds - First exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

The Foundation recommends that high-risk patients undergo an annual full-body skin screening by a physician once a year. For more information on the warning signs of melanoma, please visit http://www.SkinCancer.org/skin-cancer-information/Melanoma.

Now celebrating its 30th year, The Skin Cancer Foundation is committed to educating the public and medical professionals about sun safety. As leaders in the fight against skin cancer, the Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, detection and treatment of the world's most common cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. To learn more about the Foundation and its programs, visit www.SkinCancer.org.