More than one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. Moreover, the incidence of skin cancer is on the rise, making early detection and treatment more critical than ever. To raise awareness and encourage regular skin examinations with a dermatologist, Doak Dermatologics, a leading specialty pharmaceutical company, and The Skin Cancer Foundation have joined forces on an innovative public service campaign called The Skin Cancer Screening Tour.
A 38-foot, custom-built Mobile Diagnosis Vehicle (MDv) is traveling across the country offering the public free skin cancer examinations by local, board-certified dermatologists in more than 20 cities. The Tour kicked off in early March at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and has traveled to Los Angeles before heading to Phoenix, Dallas, Houston and Tampa, so far.
The Skin Cancer Screening Tour is already making a difference. Dermatologists volunteering at the MDv have conducted more than 1,000 patient examinations while looking for four primary forms of skin cancer or precancerous skin conditions. So far, the doctors have identified incidences of these conditions in a number of people, including:
• 271 with Actinic Keratosis (AK)-AK affects 1.3 million people annually. AK is the most common type of precancerous skin lesion. If left untreated, AK can lead to Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
• 24 with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)-SCC is a form of skin cancer that affects 200,000 Americans each year. SCCs can metastasize (spread) quickly.
• 111 with Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)-BCC is a common form of skin cancer, affecting more than 800,000 Americans annually. Chronic exposure to sunlight is most often the cause of BCC, which occurs most frequently on exposed parts of the body.
• 11 with Melanoma-Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and has increased more rapidly than any other form of skin cancer during the past 10 years. By 2010, the number of Americans with melanomas is projected to rise to 1 in 50. If melanoma is diagnosed and removed early, it is almost 100 percent curable.
“We’re very proud of the results The Skin Cancer Screening Tour has achieved so far,” says Daniel Glassman, president and CEO of Bradley Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the parent company of Doak Dermatologics. “We hope this program will encourage those at risk for skin cancer to be aware of the need to visit a dermatologist regularly.”