Former Pro Football Coach Bill Cowher Teams Up With Leading Advocacy Groups to Launch Melanoma Exposed

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Men are almost twice as likely to die from melanoma as women, but according to a new survey, only 9 percent of men consider it a health riskand more than half have never had a screening by a doctor.

“My family learned firsthand that melanoma is not an opponent to be underestimated,” said Coach Bill Cowher. “My philosophy is that every person needs to have a proactive approach to protect against melanoma. The strategy is simple: get screened, protect yourself and your family, know your risk factors, such as family history and number of moles, and most importantly, tell everyone you know to do the same.”To educate men, and the American public, about melanoma and the importance of getting screened, leading melanoma groups – Melanoma International Foundation, Melanoma Research Alliance, Melanoma Research Foundation and The Skin Cancer Foundation – have teamed up with former professional football coach Bill Cowher to help launch Melanoma Exposed: Screen. Protect. Know. Tell. The Campaign is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

Melanoma Exposed will head to the Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium in mid-June to kick off the free public skin screenings that will be held throughout the year, including select 2012 pre- and regular season events hosted by the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens. To learn more about free local screenings as well as find local dermatologists, visit MelanomaExposed.com.

Visitors to the campaign website can share what they’ve learned with family and friends by using interactive tools, such as the “Throw a Forward Pass” Facebook feature. They also can test their melanoma knowledge (and football skills) by playing Goalpost Avenue, an online educational game coached by Cowher, which is also available as an app for tablets.

“Melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and has been on the rise for the last 30 years. While everyone is at risk, incidence rates are higher among men over 40 than among women the same age, and the trend increases as they get older. Nearly twice as many men are likely to die from melanoma each year compared to women,” said Elizabeth K. Hale, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology, New York University Langone Medical Center. “The earlier melanoma is spotted, the easier it is to treat. Get informed, have a loved one check your back and other areas of your body you cannot see for changes in moles, get screened by a doctor and get to know your own skin. These simple things can save your life.”

Americans in general are not taking the steps to protect themselves or to help ensure early detection. In fact, many fail to identify risk factors for melanoma, do not discuss their personal risk with their physicians or even receive annual skin screenings or conduct self skin exams.

Additional Exposing Melanoma Survey Findings

Sponsored by the Melanoma Exposed campaign, the national survey, Exposing Melanoma, was conducted to gauge current American knowledge, perceptions and behaviors around skin health concerns and actions, especially in relation to self skin exams and skin cancer screenings.

Additional survey findings showed:

  • Only 10 percent of Americans are concerned about melanoma compared to other conditions, such as wrinkles (12 percent) and hair loss (12 percent)
  • More than half of Americans fail to identify multiple moles as an important risk factor for melanoma (52 percent) and, alarmingly, men are significantly less likely than women to recognize this risk factor (43 percent vs. 53 percent)
  • Although experts recommend performing monthly self skin exams, two-thirds (67%) of Americans say they do not conduct a self skin exam to help detect melanoma
  • Only 23 percent of parents with children under 18 make sure that their loved ones are screened for melanoma by a doctor at least once a year

“This survey shows we have a lot of work to do. The reality is that melanoma claims the life of one American every hour. But we are confident that with increased awareness and proactive strategies for detecting melanoma early, we can make a difference,” said the Melanoma Exposed Advocacy Partnership. “We are proud and excited to work with Bill Cowher and our professional football team partners that are helping us spread the word about melanoma.”

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please visit: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/54195-melanoma-exposed/