Three-quarters of Americans never receive skin exams, perform mole self checks, survey finds

Mela Sciences survey finds 24% of Americans have never had skin exam from dermatologist

IRVINGTON, N.Y. — Less than one-quarter of American adults have ever had a skin check by a dermatologist despite rising rates of skin cancer, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Mela Sciences, a company that makes a device for use by doctors to detect potentially dangerous skin lesions, polled 2,109 American adults between Jan. 29 and 31, finding that only 23% of Americans perform monthly mole self-checks, while 37% think they are not at risk from skin cancer, despite industry statistics indicating that 1-in-5 will develop skin cancer annually. At the same time, while 85% stated correctly that moles are often precursors to melanoma, 20% said they "are simply beauty marks."

"While many forms of cancer are on the decline, melanoma continues to rise and, in fact, is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30 years and second only to breast cancer in women ages 30 to 34 years," Mela Sciences president and CEO Joseph Gulfo said. "We have a tremendous opportunity to spread awareness and change the course of the disease by advocating for the detection of melanoma at its most curable stage, and with this survey, we'll draw attention to the importance of annual skin checks in the fight against melanoma."

The company markets MelaFind, a diagnostic tool approved by the Food and Drug Administration for detecting melanoma at its most curable stage, when it is limited to the outermost layer of the skin.

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