Exploring Melanoma

Melanoma continues to be the most serious form of skin cancer.  This year, in the United States, more than 53,600 people will learn from a melanoma specialist NYC that they have melanoma.  Although typically a majority of individuals diagnosed with melanoma are white men over the age of 50, melanoma is now the second most-common cancer found in women in their 20’s. In a society where a tan is seen as attractive, chic, and healthy, how do we protect ourselves, and our communities from this disease that is preventable but rapidly on the rise?  This is only one of the issues we face as we look at the behaviors of our current culture and their effects on our skins’ health.  Our challenge is global in scale.

Early detection is extremely important to those who are diagnosed.  An early diagnosis could mean a five-year survival rate as high as 98% and a cure rate as high as 90%. These rates decrease rapidly as the melanoma progresses and invades more deeply into the skin. National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be over 60,000 new cases of melanoma and that over 8,000 cases will result in death.

The majority of those diagnosed with melanoma are Caucasian males over age 50, so it’s important that they go get the help that they need. An AAD study demonstrated that a large number of U.S. adults, 42%, were unaware of melanoma, which can be a big problem for treating it and making sure that people survive as well.  The levels of awareness were lowest among those in 18-24 age group. Findings from this survey were used to assist the CDC and AAD to develop programs for the National Skin Cancer Prevention Education Program, which is continuing to grow and expand as time goes on.