By Zoe Diana Draelos, MD
Get ready to make your plans for Melanoma Monday® on May 6! This is a special time of year when dermatologists across the United States join together to wage a successful public relations campaign that details the risks of skin cancer to the public, as well as raises awareness about the important services dermatologists offer.
Melanoma Monday® is a highlight of the SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign that the Academy successfully launched at the AAD’s 2012 Annual Meeting. How could you miss the bold orange SPOT logos that decorated the convention center in San Diego? This visual identity continues to symbolize the campaign by encouraging Americans to think about the risks of skin cancer and check for suspicious lesions on their skin, as well as on friends’ and family members’ skin.
This year, the Academy is asking the public, our members, and the media to help raise awareness about skin cancer by wearing orange on Melanoma Monday®. There are several ways you can participate to make this campaign a success.
Get creative in your office and with your office staff to get out the message and make the campaign effective. Consider wearing orange clothing that day, and encourage your staff to do the same. Some eye-catching T-shirts with the SPOT logo are available on the AAD website, if you desire. Proceeds from the purchase of these products help support the SPOT program. Also, be sure to capture and share your photos with the Academy about how you celebrated Melanoma Monday®. You will be able to upload your pictures to the SPOT website starting April 15.
While you’re on the website you can also find a wealth of material to help you promote SPOT Orange™ in your community. These materials, which include sample emails, sample social media messages, flyers, and more, are available now so you can get an early start on getting the word out. You can use the materials in your office and post the flyers around your community in places like senior centers, at the local YMCA or YWCA, at your place of worship, and on grocery store bulletin boards.
I intend to get an early start to be sure that everyone who needs assistance can get a free examination as part of Melanoma Monday®.Social media can also be effective, and you can tweet a link to the AAD’s Body Mole Map, among other resources. AAD staff has developed some sample media messages for Twitter and Facebook that you can easily personalize. Broadcast emails to your patients may also be effective. Fortunately, the AAD has organized everything you need for a successful campaign on this website.
I intend to get an early start to be sure that everyone who needs assistance can get a free examination as part of Melanoma Monday®. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate is high in my community due to the recession, which makes this service is especially important.
I find that setting aside an evening after we finish with regular patients is best so those who cannot leave work have time to visit our office. Building our screening activities around the SPOT Skin Cancer™ program allows us to brand our volunteer services and the specialty of dermatology.
Expanding the reach of the SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign can only occur if all dermatologists get involved and promote the SPOT Skin Cancer™ program in their practices. Your excitement about the campaign will become contagious and encourage your staff and your patients to SPOT Skin Cancer™!
Dr. Draelos is a clinical and research dermatologist with a special interest in problems associated with the skin, hair, and nails. She also is the chair of the AAD’s Council on Communications.
SPOT Skin Cancer™ is the Academy’s campaign to create a world without skin cancer through advocacy, public awareness, and community outreach programs, and services that promote the prevention, detection, and care of skin cancer.
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