The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) today launched “Lawn,” a public service advertisement (PSA) that encourages older men to check their skin for suspicious or changing spots. Although melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can strike anyone, men older than 50 are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.
“According to an Academy survey, men are less likely than women to know how to examine their skin for signs of skin cancer,” said board-certified dermatologist Thomas E. Rohrer, MD, FAAD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. “Yet, checking your skin only requires a few minutes and could save your life.”
Using humorous scenarios, “Lawn” points out that if men will do anything to take care of a spot on their lawn, they should do the same for a spot on their skin. Distributed to television and cable stations nationwide, the TV PSA encourages men to check their skin and have someone they trust check the areas they can’t see. “Lawn” can be viewed on the Academy’s YouTube channel and at www.aad.org/psa.
“Although the PSA uses humor to inspire action, skin cancer is a serious matter,” said Dr. Rohrer. “When caught early, skin cancer, including melanoma, is highly treatable. If you see something that is changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”
To increase people’s chances of spotting skin cancer early, the Academy recommends everyone learn the ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:
- A—is for Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half;
- B—is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred;
- C—is for Color that varies from one area to another;
- D—is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, they can be smaller; and
- E—is for Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
In addition to launching the PSA, the Academy is teaching everyone how to SPOT Skin Cancer. SPOT Skin Cancer is the Academy’s campaign to create a world without skin cancer through public awareness, community outreach programs and services, and advocacy that promote the prevention, detection and care of skin cancer.
At the Academy’s website—www.spotskincancer.org—visitors can learn how to perform a skin cancer self-exam through the “How to SPOT Skin Cancer” infographic, test how much they know – or don’t know—about skin cancer through the SPOT Skin Cancer Quiz, and find free skin cancer screenings in their area. Individuals who have been affected by skin cancer can share their personal stories and provide support and inspiration for others fighting skin cancer, as well as communicate the importance of prevention and early detection.