American Academy of Dermatology: New Study Reinforces the Importance of Skin Cancer Screenings for Middle-Aged and Older Men

Regular Skin Self-Examinations Stressed



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Academy of Dermatologists

    NEW YORK, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a recent study,
 middle-aged and older men are not detecting melanoma, the deadliest form of
 skin cancer, in its early stages when it is most curable.  This group is the
 least likely to perform monthly skin self-examinations or visit a
 dermatologist regularly, thereby increasing the odds that an undetected
 melanoma will have spread and require more radical treatment.  The study,
 which is a review of the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD's) National
 Skin Cancer Screening Program, signifies the important role skin cancer
 screenings play in the detection and prevention of melanoma.
     Speaking today at the Academy's Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and
 Prevention Month Press Conference, dermatologist Barbara A. Gilchrest, MD,
 Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology, Boston University, Boston,
 Mass., presented the results of the study and emphasized the importance of
 skin cancer screenings and skin self-examinations.
     Melanoma is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing
 cells.  The disease may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop
 from or near a mole.  Melanomas are found most frequently on the upper backs
 of men and women or on the calves of women, but can occur anywhere on the
 body.
     In 2001, an estimated 51,400 new cases of melanoma are expected in the
 U.S.(1)  This year, 7,800 people will die from melanoma; 5,000 men and 2,800
 women.(2)  However, the disease is highly treatable, especially if it is
 caught early and while it is still localized.  When detected early, surgical
 removal can cure the disease in almost all cases.
     According to the study, more than 44 percent of the individuals diagnosed
 with melanoma were men over the age of 50.  However, this group comprised only
 25 percent of those screened.  Melanoma was more than three times as common
 among middle-aged and older men than among all of those screened.
     "It's startling for such a small population to have so many confirmed
 cases of melanoma," said Dr. Gilchrest.  "Melanoma is the sixth most common
 cancer in men, and there is a disproportionately high mortality rate from
 melanoma in men above the age of 50.  It's important that middle-aged and
 older men receive skin cancer education to help them detect melanoma in its
 early stage when it is the most curable."
     Risk factors for developing melanoma include numerous and/or changing
 moles on the body, a personal and/or family history of melanoma, fair hair and
 skin (referred to as skin type I/II), and excessive sun exposure during
 childhood.
     Men in the study who reported having a changing mole had the greatest risk
 of developing melanoma.  Women who reported a changing mole were also more
 likely to be diagnosed with melanoma.  More than half of those screened had at
 least one established risk factor for melanoma: skin type I/II, family history
 of skin cancer, or personal history of skin cancer.  Among all those diagnosed
 with melanoma, 83 percent had one or more risk factors and/or a changing mole.
     "Today more people are taking advantage of skin cancer screenings," said
 Dr. Gilchrest.  "However, everyone, especially middle-aged and older men,
 needs to become more aware of the risk factors for melanoma, practice sun safe
 behavior and perform regular skin self-exams."
     It's important to take time for a monthly skin self-examination, which
 includes looking over the entire body especially the back, scalp, soles of the
 feet and palms of the hand.  "If you find any changes during a skin self-exam
 in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, the development of an
 odd-looking mole or any other unusual changes in the skin, you should see a
 dermatologist immediately," said Dr. Gilchrest.  "When looking at a mole,
 follow the simple ABCD rule which outlines the warning signs of melanoma."
 
     The ABCD rule is as follows:
     -- Asymmetry -- One half of the mole does not match the other half.
     -- Border irregularity -- The edges of the mole are ragged, notched or
        blurred.
     -- Color -- The pigment of a changing mole is not uniform and may include
        shades of tan, brown, black and even red, white or blue.
     -- Diameter -- A mole larger than six millimeters, about the size of a
        pencil eraser, should be of concern.
 
     Individuals are encouraged to take advantage of the AAD's free skin cancer
 screenings.  Each year, hundreds of AAD members donate their time and
 expertise to perform skin cancer screenings at locations throughout the
 country.  In its 17 years, more than 1.2 million people have been screened
 through the AAD's program, and approximately 116,000 suspicious lesions,
 including 15,150 suspected melanomas, have been detected.  For the nearest
 skin cancer screening location or for information about how to do a skin
 self-examination, visit the AAD's web site, www.aad.org .
     Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.  To
 protect yourself from the sun, the AAD recommends avoiding outdoor activities
 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's ray are the strongest.  If you must
 be outside, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor
 (SPF) of 15 or higher, and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved
 shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
     The study encompassed 242,374 screenings conducted from 1992 to 1994 as
 part of the AAD's National Skin Cancer Screening Program.  Overall, 3,476
 individuals were given a presumptive diagnosis of melanoma or possible
 melanoma.
     The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most
 influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations.  With a
 membership of over 13,000 dermatologists worldwide, the Academy is committed
 to:  advancing the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the
 skin; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research
 in dermatology; supporting and enhancing patient care; and promoting a
 lifetime of healthier skin, hair, and nails.  For more information, contact
 the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM or www.aad.org .
 
     (1) Cancer Facts & Figures 2001, American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta,
         Georgia
     (2) Cancer Facts & Figures 2001, American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta,
         Georgia
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X81232663
 
 

SOURCE American Academy of Dermatologists
    NEW YORK, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a recent study,
 middle-aged and older men are not detecting melanoma, the deadliest form of
 skin cancer, in its early stages when it is most curable.  This group is the
 least likely to perform monthly skin self-examinations or visit a
 dermatologist regularly, thereby increasing the odds that an undetected
 melanoma will have spread and require more radical treatment.  The study,
 which is a review of the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD's) National
 Skin Cancer Screening Program, signifies the important role skin cancer
 screenings play in the detection and prevention of melanoma.
     Speaking today at the Academy's Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and
 Prevention Month Press Conference, dermatologist Barbara A. Gilchrest, MD,
 Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology, Boston University, Boston,
 Mass., presented the results of the study and emphasized the importance of
 skin cancer screenings and skin self-examinations.
     Melanoma is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing
 cells.  The disease may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop
 from or near a mole.  Melanomas are found most frequently on the upper backs
 of men and women or on the calves of women, but can occur anywhere on the
 body.
     In 2001, an estimated 51,400 new cases of melanoma are expected in the
 U.S.(1)  This year, 7,800 people will die from melanoma; 5,000 men and 2,800
 women.(2)  However, the disease is highly treatable, especially if it is
 caught early and while it is still localized.  When detected early, surgical
 removal can cure the disease in almost all cases.
     According to the study, more than 44 percent of the individuals diagnosed
 with melanoma were men over the age of 50.  However, this group comprised only
 25 percent of those screened.  Melanoma was more than three times as common
 among middle-aged and older men than among all of those screened.
     "It's startling for such a small population to have so many confirmed
 cases of melanoma," said Dr. Gilchrest.  "Melanoma is the sixth most common
 cancer in men, and there is a disproportionately high mortality rate from
 melanoma in men above the age of 50.  It's important that middle-aged and
 older men receive skin cancer education to help them detect melanoma in its
 early stage when it is the most curable."
     Risk factors for developing melanoma include numerous and/or changing
 moles on the body, a personal and/or family history of melanoma, fair hair and
 skin (referred to as skin type I/II), and excessive sun exposure during
 childhood.
     Men in the study who reported having a changing mole had the greatest risk
 of developing melanoma.  Women who reported a changing mole were also more
 likely to be diagnosed with melanoma.  More than half of those screened had at
 least one established risk factor for melanoma: skin type I/II, family history
 of skin cancer, or personal history of skin cancer.  Among all those diagnosed
 with melanoma, 83 percent had one or more risk factors and/or a changing mole.
     "Today more people are taking advantage of skin cancer screenings," said
 Dr. Gilchrest.  "However, everyone, especially middle-aged and older men,
 needs to become more aware of the risk factors for melanoma, practice sun safe
 behavior and perform regular skin self-exams."
     It's important to take time for a monthly skin self-examination, which
 includes looking over the entire body especially the back, scalp, soles of the
 feet and palms of the hand.  "If you find any changes during a skin self-exam
 in the size, color, shape or texture of a mole, the development of an
 odd-looking mole or any other unusual changes in the skin, you should see a
 dermatologist immediately," said Dr. Gilchrest.  "When looking at a mole,
 follow the simple ABCD rule which outlines the warning signs of melanoma."
 
     The ABCD rule is as follows:
     -- Asymmetry -- One half of the mole does not match the other half.
     -- Border irregularity -- The edges of the mole are ragged, notched or
        blurred.
     -- Color -- The pigment of a changing mole is not uniform and may include
        shades of tan, brown, black and even red, white or blue.
     -- Diameter -- A mole larger than six millimeters, about the size of a
        pencil eraser, should be of concern.
 
     Individuals are encouraged to take advantage of the AAD's free skin cancer
 screenings.  Each year, hundreds of AAD members donate their time and
 expertise to perform skin cancer screenings at locations throughout the
 country.  In its 17 years, more than 1.2 million people have been screened
 through the AAD's program, and approximately 116,000 suspicious lesions,
 including 15,150 suspected melanomas, have been detected.  For the nearest
 skin cancer screening location or for information about how to do a skin
 self-examination, visit the AAD's web site, www.aad.org .
     Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.  To
 protect yourself from the sun, the AAD recommends avoiding outdoor activities
 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's ray are the strongest.  If you must
 be outside, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor
 (SPF) of 15 or higher, and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved
 shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
     The study encompassed 242,374 screenings conducted from 1992 to 1994 as
 part of the AAD's National Skin Cancer Screening Program.  Overall, 3,476
 individuals were given a presumptive diagnosis of melanoma or possible
 melanoma.
     The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most
 influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations.  With a
 membership of over 13,000 dermatologists worldwide, the Academy is committed
 to:  advancing the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the
 skin; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research
 in dermatology; supporting and enhancing patient care; and promoting a
 lifetime of healthier skin, hair, and nails.  For more information, contact
 the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM or www.aad.org .
 
     (1) Cancer Facts & Figures 2001, American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta,
         Georgia
     (2) Cancer Facts & Figures 2001, American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta,
         Georgia
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X81232663
 
 SOURCE  American Academy of Dermatologists