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May is Melanoma Awareness Month

May is National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month, as designated by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).  The aim is to raise awareness about skin cancers and the importance of early detection for favorable treatment outcomes.

At the beginning of the month, the AAD conducted a public awareness campaign, encouraging the public to learn warning signs of melanoma. AAD president Bret M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, notes the lack of public awareness of how to detect skin cancers and when to visit their dermatologist. With SPOT Skin Cancer and their mission of “Prevent, Detect, Live,” Coldiron hopes that individuals will be encouraged to spot their skin cancer early, in its most treatable stage.

The SPOT Skin Cancer website is a great place to send your patients. It answers basic questions like “How do I prevent skin cancer?” and “How do I check my skin?” It lists educational resources and addresses the dangers of indoor tanning. There are also resources in Spanish.

Public awareness is key in reducing the rate of fatalities for what is shown to be the most common type of skin cancer in the US.  Many patients will come in too late due to lack of knowledge. The AAD, by making the first Monday of May an annual awareness day, and by promoting SPOT Skin Cancer will continue to spread awareness by encouraging the public to learn the signs of skin cancer and practice preventative measures.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Image: Traci Lawson