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70% of US men do NOT know the warning signs of skin cancer.

In a new survey, just 51 percent of US men reported using sunscreen in the past 12 months, and an alarming 70 percent did not know the warning signs of skin cancer. Created by The Skin Cancer Foundation and the makers of Banana Boat® and Hawaiian Tropic® brand sunscreens, the survey was administered online by the market research firm TNS to 1,000 male and female respondents. “The survey results confirm what I see in my practice every day — men just aren’t incorporating sun protection into their lives,” said Joshua Zeichner, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “The findings are especially concerning for men over age 50, who are more than twice as likely as women to die from melanoma.” Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is associated with the vast majority of skin cancers, making a regular sun protection regimen an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Source: “Men Fall Short in Skin Cancer Knowledge and Prevention: How They Are Paying the Price.” The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Sun and Skin News, Summer 2012.

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Study shows that skin exams cut melanoma deaths by over 50%.

The results of the largest population based study of skin cancer screening in history show that regular total body skin exams by physicians can cut melanoma deaths by more than 50 percent. In the SCREEN (Skin Cancer Research to Provide Evidence for Effectiveness of Screening in Northern Germany) study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), an unprecedented 360,288 residents of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein ages 20 and older received total-body skin exams from participating physicians, all of whom completed an eight-hour training course prior to the program.

Study subjects chose to be screened by either a dermatologist or a non-dermatologist physician; the latter referred patients with suspicious lesions or high risk factors for skin cancer to a dermatologist. Patients found to have suspicious lesions had skin samples (biopsies) taken from the affected area and examined for evidence of cancer.

In the yearlong 2003 investigation, 816 melanomas were identified, which is about 200 more melanomas than were found in each of the two preceding years. The authors noted that screenings typically lead to identification of greater numbers of skin cancers, many of which are found at an earlier, more treatable stage than they would have reached without the screening. The results bore this out: in the years following SCREEN, very likely because tumors were thinner when found (as a general rule, the thinner the lesion, the easier to treat), the melanoma death rate was cut in half. Melanoma killed 43 men and 45 women between 1999 and 2002, but just 23 men and 21 women between 2006 and 2008.

The results were so impressive that in 2008, Germany began a national skin cancer screening program, offering people aged 35 or older a total-body skin exam every two years. The authors suggested that such large-scale screening programs are feasible and advisable around the world, and have “the potential to reduce skin cancer burden, including mortality” – which indeed has been the case in Germany.

Because early detection is the key to successful treatment, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone obtain a yearly head-to-toe skin exam from a doctor. The Foundation also advises you to examine your own skin head-to-toe once a month; if you find a new or suspicious lesion, see a physician immediately.

Source: “Total-Body Examinations Cut Melanoma Deaths in Half: Largest Screening Study Ever Provides Powerful Evidence.” The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Sun and Skin News, Summer 2012.

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Sunscreens proven to have significant and definitive benefit.

A groundbreaking study of 1,621 Australians found that regular sunscreen users reduced their incidence of melanoma by 50-73 percent. This prospective, randomized trial is the first to show a significant and definitive benefit, although it has long been suspected. Additional studies show that sunscreens are safe and do not induce Vitamin D deficiency. Read the full text online at:

Source: Morison, W.L., & Wang, S.Q. “Sunscreens: Safe and Effective?” The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal, Digital edition, 2011.

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Cancer Facts & Figures 2008

The American Cancer Society has updates is Cancer Facts and Figures for 2008.  Melanoma skin cancer accounts for 62,480 of the new cases of cancer in the United States, up slightly from 62,190 two years ago.  The number of new cases among men is slightly higher than those for women, 34,950 and 27,530 respectively.  The total number of estimated deaths in the US attributed to melanoma skin cancer are 8,420 (5,400 men and 3,020 women) up from 7,910 in 2006. 

California comes in with the highest number of new cases of melanoma in the US.  This state will account for more than 12% of the nation?s total with 7,620 estimated new cases.   Similar to 2006 figures, Florida comes in second with 4,430 estimated new cases.  This is a slight decrease from 2006 for Florida. 

The probability of developing invasive melanoma skin cancer (based on data collected from 2002-2004) over a person?s lifetime is 1 in 41 for men and 1 in 61 for women compared to 1:52 and 1:77 respectively in 2006.

Survival rates for people with melanoma skin cancer vary depending on the progression of the disease when it is diagnosed.  For cases of localized melanoma (has not spread to surrounding tissue), the 5 year survival rate has increased to 98.5% in 2008 from 92% in 2006.  The 10 year survival remains unchanged at 89%.  For regional melanoma the 5 year survival rate is 65% and for distant melanoma it is 15%.  According to the American Cancer Society, 80% of the new cases are diagnosed as localized melanoma.


American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2008.  Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2008. Retrieved 6/10/09


American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2006.  Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2006. Retrieved 6/10/09

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CDC releases teen tanning statistics

In 2005, 8.7% of teens aged 14-17 years used indoor tanning devices. Girls aged 14-17 years were seven times more likely to use these devices than boys in the same age group. The use of indoor tanning devices increased with age from 14 to 17 years.

Article Published: Percentage of Teens Aged 14--17 Years Who Used Indoor Tanning Devices During the Preceding 12 Months, by Sex and Age --- United States, 2005* MMWR, October 13, 2006.

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