The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has recently released findings from a new national survey, which reveal that nine in 10 American men are aware of the existence of skin cancer, but only about 18 percent of American men actually visit a doctor for annual skin cancer screenings. This apathy towards the risk of skin cancer appears to be more conspicuous in younger men in the age group of 18 to 34.
The reality is that one in five people in the US will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, will afflict one in 50 Americans by 2015. The incidence of melanoma has been on the rise over the last three decades. Men are at a higher risk of this disease compared to women. The heartening part in the AAD survey is that men across age groups are more receptive to learning about skin cancer.
To spread greater knowledge and discussion about skin cancer among men, AAD has teamed up with the legendary New York Giants quarterback and CBS Sports analyst Phil Simms. Together they are launching SPOT me, an awareness campaign to highlight the risks of skin cancer. The campaign will particularly encourage men in all age groups to set up periodic skin cancer screenings from a board certified dermatologist and make skin health a priority.
Simms was diagnosed with skin cancer on his face, head, and ears in 2010 when he visited a dermatologist for a check-up. He has since undergone treatment and modified his lifestyle to reduce the risk of recurrence of skin cancer. Simms said: “Like most men, I resisted going to the doctor until my daughter encouraged me to have my skin checked, and I was lucky my skin cancer was diagnosed early and effectively treated.”
Simms is keen to educate men about the dangers of skin cancer in the United States. He says: “I get regular screenings and make sure my family – especially my two sons – does the same. I want to encourage men of all ages to talk to their family members and friends, be proactive with their skin health and most importantly, get screened for skin cancer.” Apart from teaming up with Simms, the Academy has also entered into a partnership with three professional football teams to raise awareness about skin cancer and provide free skin cancer screenings.
The president of the AAD, Dr. Brett Coldiron, also pointed out to the growing incidence of skin cancer among men. He said: “In my recent experience, I have treated more men than women for skin cancer, and the skin cancers in men are often more serious. This may be because men don’t get screened as often as they should, which leads to more advanced cancers that could have been caught earlier. The survey findings are encouraging in that men do wish to learn more and even welcome discussion about skin cancer.” The Academy’s skin cancer awareness campaign, SPOT me, is a part of its larger SPOT Skin Cancer initiative.