Kathleen and Bill's personal stories
My office, Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology, hiked up Mount Diablo to raise awareness and funds for skin cancer screenings and prevention in 2015. In 2017, my husband Bill Plautz, an emergency physician, joined me to hike in the mountains of Patagonia to do the same.
This cause is especially important to me because of the shocking increase in skin cancer I'm seeing in my dermatology practice. This trend is also being seen worldwide. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has increased by 6.1% annually in young women under the age of 44. Most experts feel that the popularity of indoor tanning beds could be largely to blame for this spike among young people. In older age groups, the lack of knowledge of the dangers of tanning is probably to blame.
Your risk of getting skin cancer is real. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The more you tan or have tanned the higher your risk. This puts outdoor enthusiasts at greater risk. Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, can be disfiguring and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, will kill an estimated 9,730 people in the US this year alone.
Our fundraising efforts led to discussions with friends and family members about sun protection and safety as well as raised over $85,000 for free skin cancer screenings and shade structures between both events! This cause affects so many and is so dear to me and my practice. I am hopeful that by participating and leading by example, we can encourage others to join and tell “Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!”
Most Sincerely, Kathleen M. Welsh, MD Founder and Principal Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology Bill Plautz, MD Emergency Physician