Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Protect Yourself During Skin Cancer Awareness Month and Beyond

ARA – Nearly every hour, someone in the United States dies of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and more than one million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Women aged 20-29 are particularly vulnerable, with melanoma ranking as the second most common form of cancer in the age group.

These statistics are particularly alarming for a disease that, when detected and treated early, is nearly 100 percent curable. Skin cancer is also one of the few cancers for which the cause of most cases is known: excessive sun exposure. Adopting a comprehensive sun protection program that includes daily UV protection, monthly self-examinations and yearly screenings by a dermatologic surgeon can substantially lower skin cancer risk, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

In recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month this May, Olay and the ASDS have joined forces for the fourth year for “Skin Cancer Takes Friends,” a nationwide free skin-cancer screening program that encourages Americans to take a friend to a participating dermatologic surgeon’s office for a free skin cancer screening. Screenings are quick, easy and painless. They are noninvasive visual inspections of the entire body and only take a few minutes. A complete list of volunteering dermatologic surgeons is available at and In 2007, more than 300 volunteer doctors conducted over 9,000 free screenings in 45 states.

“Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross joins in the effort for the second year to raise awareness about the risks of skin cancer based on her personal experience with the disease. She is dedicated to helping spread the word about this worthwhile program, and about the importance of sun protection and regular screenings in the fight against skin cancer.

“Having had two family members stricken by melanoma, I’ve become very passionate about helping to educate the public about skin cancer prevention,” explains the Emmy-nominated actress. “Thanks to early detection, both my grandfather and cousin survived the disease, but too many others aren’t as fortunate. I urge everyone to protect themselves and their loved ones by scheduling a free screening together. Those few minutes could save lives.”

“When skin cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent. That means that an annual skin cancer screening is essential because a dermatologic surgeon can recognize even the earliest stages of skin cancer,” says Dr. Darrell S. Rigel, president of the ASDS.

Melanoma is particularly difficult to treat and cure once it has spread to other parts of the body. However, it can be readily treated if detected in its earliest stages.

How can you stay safe?

Dermatologic surgeons overwhelmingly agree that the most important step in skin cancer prevention is applying a daily moisturizer with broad spectrum sun protection every day before going outside, like Olay Complete Defense SPF 30 for the face and Olay Body Age Transform Intensive UV Defense Serum for the body. Additionally, be sure to follow these steps:

1. Examine skin at least once a month to search for any spots that seem to have changed size, color or shape. Focus on your neck, chest and torso, and use a bright light, full-length mirror, hand-mirror and blow-dryer to inspect hard-to-see areas such as the scalp and back of the neck. For more information on self-screening, visit

2. Learn the “ABCDE’s of moles and melanoma” and alert your dermatologist immediately to any of the following key warning signs: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variability, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser and/or Evolving moles that change size, shape or color.

3. Schedule a screening appointment once a year in order to increase your chances of detecting and treating melanoma.

For more information, visit and

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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