More than 11,000 Americans die each year from skin cancer. Yet when detected early, skin cancer has a cure rate of 99 percent. That’s why dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology’s National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Screening Program conducted free skin cancer screenings at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, held Aug. 20-30, 2009.
“With its emphasis on agriculture, the fair provided a great opportunity to reach farmers who are at a high risk of skin cancer due to overexposure from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays,” said dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. “Research shows farmers are among the least likely workers to receive a skin examination by a physician, which makes free screenings like this one extremely important.”
Twenty-one dermatologists, led by Timothy S. Brown, MD, FAAD, of Louisville, volunteered 66 hours to screen 1,308 people for skin cancer at the booth located in the Health Horizons exhibit hall. Through the screening, dermatologists detected more than 315 suspicious lesions, including seven suspected melanomas. In addition, the following statistics were gathered:
- 50% had never had their skin checked for cancer by a dermatologist or other doctor in the past.
- 67% had never been to a skin cancer screening before.
- 54% would not have seen a doctor for their skin even without this screening.
- 77% do not have a regular dermatologist.
Dermatologists have been conducting skin cancer screenings in conjunction with the Kentucky Cancer Program at the Kentucky State Fair for 20 years. The Academy’s national screening program began in 1985 and to date Academy members have conducted more than 1.9 million free skin cancer screenings. More than 188,000 suspicious lesions have been detected, including more than 21,500 suspected melanomas.
Significantly more than 1 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. One American dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 61 minutes).