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Along with more sunshine and flowers, the month of May heralds Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
In our country, more than 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually. And the number of cases has continued to climb over recent years. The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcincomas (BCCs and SCCs)—are highly curable if identified early and treated appropriately. While BCC rarely metastasizes, 2 to 5 percent of cutaneous SCCs metastasize to regional lymph nodes or more distant sites.
Fortunately, recent advances in technology and science have deepened our understanding of the molecular biology of different types of skin cancer. This has led to the development of more treatment options and increased awareness of the need for everyone to take preventive measures to reduce their skin cancer risk.
Throughout the year—but particularly on the brink of summer— cancer programs and practices join their colleagues in dermatology, primary care, and community health to bring skin cancer screenings and education to where people live, work, and play. At farmers’ markets, community pools, schools, fairs, festivals, the beach, and elsewhere, healthcare providers conduct screenings and educate the public about the simple steps everyone can take to reduce their risk of skin cancer. Read stories of how ACCC members have promoted sun safety and skin cancer prevention in their communities here and here.
To help community cancer care providers keep abreast of the latest data and research on difficult-to-treat advanced SCC, on May 10 ACCC is launching a regional lecture series on effective practices for diagnosing, testing, and treating patients with SCC. This series is part of ACCC’s Multidisciplinary Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma education project. On Friday, May 10, "Why Teledermatology Is More Than Skin Deep,” will be presented by experts from the University of Missouri Health System, in conjunction with the Missouri Oncology Society's Annual Conference in Columbia. Learn more. If you’re unable to attend, the program will be recorded for on-demand viewing.
Summer is nearly here. Now is the time to plan for prevention. If you're seeking more resources to raise awareness among the populations you serve, the following organizations have a variety of skin cancer awareness and patient education materials available:
AIM at Melanoma Foundation
American Academy of Dermatology
American Cancer Society
CDC Skin Cancer Awareness
Melanoma Research Foundation
National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention
NCCN Guidelines for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers
NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Quick Guide for Melanoma
NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Quick Guide for SCC
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Skin Cancer Foundation
Tagging on to American Academy of Dermatology's Do You Use Protection? skin cancer awareness campaign, the Association of Community Cancer Centers wishes everyone “safe sun.”