US Surgeon General raises melanoma awareness through family experience

The U.S. Surgeon General’s wife recently had surgery to remove a nodal recurrence of melanoma. Through the Surgeon General’s official Facebook account, he detailed his wife’s treatment and her history of tanning in her youth to raise awareness of melanoma and discuss its risk factors.

As the Surgeon General laid out, melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and nearly 9,000 individuals die from it every year. Many medical journals show that avoiding excess UV exposure and taking preventive steps can help reduce the likelihood of skin cancer development.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force echoed this in a recently released recommendation that clinicians should counsel children, their parents, and young adults on the use of sun protective behaviors to prevent skin cancer. The recommendation encourages counseling interventions to increase sun protection behavior like applying sunscreen regularly, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sunlight during peak hours.

In his Facebook post, the Surgeon General encouraged folks to pay attention to skin cancer warning signs like a new spot on the skin, or one that is changing in size, shape, or color. Annual visits with a dermatologist can help screen for developing skin cancer.

ASDSA is working with its SUNucate coalition to increase children’s access to sunscreen and sun protective clothing at school by advancing legislation. 13 states have SUNucate related policies in place and 15 states have pending legislation.

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