Melanoma research hasn’t stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic – and neither has the fight to end melanoma.
Each year the Steps Against Melanoma Walk is held to raise funds and awareness about the fight against melanoma, one of the dangerous forms of skin cancer.
Melanoma cancer accounts for about one percent of all skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.Although melanoma occurs most often on the skin, it can develop in the eye or the lining of the nose, mouth, or genitals.
To promote the safety and well-being of participants, the 2020 Steps Against Melanoma Walk will be held as a unified, virtual event on Saturday, Sept 12, at any time. In lieu of a large gathering in the community, people are encouraged to walk in a location that’s safe for you.
In the past, the walk and festivities have been held at area parks – but this year you can still walk – whether from your home, neighborhood, or favorite trails, and you can still participate and support this important work on Saturday. The walk is free to register but participants are encouraged to raise $50.
The goal of the 2020 Steps Against Melanoma Virtual Walk is to get patients and families in the community to get involved and raise awareness and support research for a cure for melanoma cancer.
People will also be walking in honor of loved ones and friends affected by melanoma cancer, according to Dr. Tawnya Bowles, an oncology surgeon at Intermountain Healthcare.
The 2020 Steps Against Melanoma Walk is sponsored by The AIM at Melanoma, an international melanoma foundation globally engaged and locally invested in advancing the battle against melanoma through innovative research, legislative reform, education, and patient and caregiver support.
The website to get more information about the Walk and to register visit the website.
Last year’s race raised over $6,000 and had 120 participants.
Here are some facts about melanoma:
- Melanoma is a skin cancer that can spread earlier and more quickly than other skin cancers.
- 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime. It is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and worldwide.
- Melanoma is the second most common of all cancers in men and women ages 15-29.
- It is projected that nearly 80,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2013. That means one person every 8 minutes.
- The average age for a melanoma diagnosis is 50, compared to other cancers, which is closer to 65-70 years old.
- If caught in the earliest stages, melanoma is entirely treatable, but because it spreads quickly, early detection and immediate treatment is critical.
- Melanoma often starts out as a mole and can be removed if caught early. But because moles are often mistaken for beauty marks, they go unnoticed. Have a dermatologist look at anything abnormal on your skin.
- Risk factors for melanoma include fair complexion, family history, severe sunburns as a child, and using a tanning bed ten times a year or more before age 30.
- Tanning beds are no healthier than sitting in the sun. Actually, the UVA radiation used in tanning beds is three times the amount of harmful radiation emitted by the sun, therefore more dangerous.
- UVA rays from tanning beds penetrate deep into the skin; they destroy skin fibers and damage elasticity, causing premature aging, wrinkles, and leathery skin.
- The best ways to lower the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers are to avoid intense sunlight for long periods of time and to practice sun safety (i.e.: look for a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection).
Melanoma is the Most Dangerous Type of Skin Cancer
Melanoma cancer accounts for about 1% of all skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.Although melanoma occurs most often on the skin, it can develop in the eye or the lining of the nose, mouth, or genitals.
In 2018, it is estimated that there will be 91,270 new cases of melanoma in the United States and 9,320 deaths from the disease.
- 55,150 cases of invasive melanoma will occur in males.
- 36,120 cases of invasive melanoma will occur in females.
Melanoma Affects People of All Ages
Melanoma is the third most common cancer among women aged 20-39 years and the second most common cancer in men aged 20-39 years. In the US, melanoma is currently the fifth most common cancer in men and the sixth most common in women of all age groups
Likelihood of Getting Melanoma
Melanoma is most commonly diagnosed in non-Hispanic whites; 1 per 100,000 in African Americans, 4 per 100,000 in Hispanics, and 26 per 100,000 in non-Hispanic whites.
Incidence rates are higher in women than in men before the age of 50, but by age 65, rates in men double those in women, and by age 80 they are triple.
Ten percent of all people with melanoma have a family history of melanoma.
A Growing Concern
- The increase of melanoma has risen rapidly over the past 30 years.
- From 2004 to 2013, the rate increased by 2% to 3% per year among men and women ages 50 and older.
- However, it did stabilize among men and women younger than age 50.
Five-Year Survival Rate Has Increased
During this same period, there has been a significant rise in overall five-year survival in patients with melanoma. This may be due to earlier diagnosis, when tumors are still at a thinner depth, as well as improved surgical techniques and treatments.
Treatment and Survival
- Treatments are available for all people with melanoma.
- Melanoma can quickly spread to other parts of the body, so it is important to detect and treat melanoma in its earliest stages.
- When melanoma is detected and treated in its early stages, the chances for long-term, disease-free survival are excellent.
- For localized melanoma (84% of all cases), the 5-year survival rate is approximately 99%.
No cancer, including melanoma, can ever be prevented with 100% certainty. Some risk factors for melanoma, such as skin type and family history, cannot be changed. Sometimes melanoma may develop despite your best efforts to prevent it.
The good news is that the risk factors for melanoma are well known. Since the primary risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, learning how you can protect yourself from UV radiation can help you reduce your risk of melanoma.
This article contains sponsored content.