30 years of free skin cancer screenings
The AAD's free skin cancer screening program (now known as the SPOTme® Skin Cancer Screening Program) is one of the most successful association-led public health programs in U.S. history. Since 1985, volunteer dermatologists have:
Conducted 2,572,846 screenings
Detected 256,329 suspected skin cancer lesions
Detected 28,822 suspected melanomas
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30 years of collecting data on skin cancer
1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
More than 8,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
Invasive melanoma is projected to be the fifth most common cancer for men (46,870 cases) and the seventh most common cancer for women (29,510 cases) in 2016.
Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in females age 15-29.
30 years of prevention
The first step toward a world without skin cancer is educating others about prevention. The Academy has long campaigned to spread sun-safety messages and increase public awareness about skin cancer through a variety of resources.
Dangers of indoor tanning beds
Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent; the risk increases with each use.
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. Any change in your natural skin color is a sign of potential skin damage.
FAQ's about sun safety
How to select a sunscreen
Choosing the right sunscreen can hlep reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun.
Learn how to select a sunscreen
Tips on preventing skin cancer
Protecting your skin from damaging effects of sun exposure will reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Learn how to prevent skin cancer
Public service advertisements
The Academy’s PSAs highlight the importance of skin cancer prevention and detection.
View the Academy's PSAs
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
The Academy’s 2016 campaign - "Looking Good in 2016" - raises awareness about melanoma during May, Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Is your skin looking good in 2016?
30 years of detection
Dermatologists lead the medical community in finding and treating skin cancer. The Academy offers easy access to self-detection resources, as well directories to locate dermatologists and skin cancer screenings.
Body mole map
A guide to examining moles for irregularities.
Learn how to detect skin cancer
How to perform a skin self-exam
You can detect skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin.
Skin self-exam video
Find a dermatologist
Access dermatologists in your area.
Find a free SPOTme® Skin Cancer Screening
A comprehensive listing of free skin cancer screenings.
Find a screening
30 years of helping patients live
“While in the wave pool with my daughter, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and told me she was a dermatologist and that I had a melanoma on my upper back that needed to be taken care of.”
“No one can prepare themselves for a skin cancer diagnosis, but I shouldn't have been surprised. The fact is, I did everything wrong when I was younger.”
“At the age of 20, my mom noticed a mole on my back and encouraged me to visit a dermatologist. I was convinced the mole wasn't a serious problem. I went tanning the week before my doctor's appointment.”
“I kind of stood dumbfounded before I realized that melanoma, meant cancer. Now here I was ironing my shirt and all of a sudden - BOOM - cancer.”
“During a routine follow-up acne appointment, a father patiently read a magazine in the exam room as Dr. Crutchfield examined his son’s progress. After Dr. Crutchfield reviewed the treatment plan for the boy, he began to exit the room. As he was leaving, he glanced back shortly toward the boy’s father. Out of the corner of his eye, Dr. Crutchfield noticed a suspicious-looking, dark mole on the father’s arm.”
“You don't realize how much melanoma can change your life until it happens to you.”
“Please, please have a dermatologist check out anything that seems to be changing on your skin. Skin cancer can happen to anyone.”
“This has changed the way my face looks, so how can it not have changed my life?”
30 years of volunteerism
“At one screening, I examined a woman who had a lesion just below her waist band. She didn’t want to ‘bother’ me with it, but because she mentioned the lesion, I insisted she show it to me. The lesion was clearly a melanoma. I referred her to her dermatologist that day and the lesion was excised. I know that she was doing fine 10 years later.”
“A patient said to me that I was God sent after detecting a melanoma at a screening. He was successfully treated after that.”
“Uniquely amongst cancers, skin cancer is common, largely preventable, and easily curable. It is one of the few cancers for which prevention measures could eliminate the vast majority of cases. A patient told me, ‘Without the screening, my kids might not have a mom.’”
"I think that the actual screening is just one fraction of the total impact. The value-added comes in the form of increased awareness of skin cancer and prevention among their family and friends."
"The skin always tells a story. Whether it is a scar acquired from a traumatic event, a callus from a favorite hobby, or a mole that appeared during a formative time in someone’s life, there is often significance attached to these otherwise unnoticed marks on our skin. I love hearing patients explain the story of their skin."
"I feel offering free screenings to the public is my way of alerting the public to the importance of screenings by dermatologists in helping them avoid the effects of overexposure to the sun, premalignant growths, and skin cancer."
"It is gratifying to find a potentially harmful lesion that would have otherwise been overlooked. I also enjoy providing a free service to people who are very appreciative of my expertise."
"Patients are always very appreciative and many attend screenings due to a friend or family member having had a skin cancer."
30 years of public health programs
The Academy’s skin cancer public education program since 2012.
The Academy’s free screening program has conducted more than 2.5 million screenings since it started in 1985.
Since 1998, the Academy has partnered with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to raise awareness about skin cancer.
This program, founded in 2003, has resulted in the building of more than 320 shade structures at pools, playgrounds, and recreation spaces.
Launched in 2014, this hiking program builds awareness and resources for the Academy’s SPOT Skin Cancer initiative through crowd sourced fundraising.
Since 1994, the Academy has designated the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®.
30 years of making history
30 years of legislative action and advocacy
The Academy is constantly working with state dermatology societies and state legislatures to introduce and support laws and regulations that protect consumers and promote awareness about skin cancer prevention and the dangers of indoor tanning. As a result, 42 states have enacted tanning bed restrictions to potentially reduce the risk of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. The map shows states with indoor tanning youth access laws.
How did the screening program get started?
Darrell Rigel, MD, Clinical Professor at NYU School of Medicine, explains how dermatologists established a national skin cancer screening program 30 years ago.
The history of the ABCDEs of melanoma
Learn how doctors created the ABCDEs of melanoma to help people exam their skin.
J.B. Howell, MD, and PeytonWeary, MD, presented the Academy with the idea of a national screening program for skin cancer.
President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Week
J.B. Howell, MD, recommended that the first Monday in May of each year be designated Melanoma Self-Examination Day or Melanoma Monday®.
The Play Sun Smart™ program was created. This public education campaign partners the Academy with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Since its inception in 2000, the Academy’s Shade Structure Program has funded over 300 shade structures throughout the U.S.
The Academy set a Guinness World Record for the most skin cancer screenings in a single day (10,359) on May 6, 2006.
The Academy launched SPOT Skin Cancer™, a public education initiative designed to save lives and reduce the incidence of skin cancer.
Bristol-Myers Squibb donated more than $4.3 million and in-kind assets to support the Academy’s SPOTme® Free Skin Cancer Screening Program.