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El Camino Hospital

Let Melanoma Monday Be a Wake-Up Call

Mountain View, CA - April 27, 2010 - Dr. Greg Morganroth, a dermatological surgeon who practices at El Camino Hospital, performs 1500 skin cancer removal procedures annually, many of them well beyond the early stage. That's why he and other dermatologists affiliated with El Camino Hospital are hoping Melanoma Monday, sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology will help raise public awareness about Malignant Melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer. "We could eliminate deaths from this deadly disease," he says, "if only people would get screened regularly. Nearly all skin cancers are curable if caught early."

Malignant Melanoma arises from skin growths known as nevi, more commonly known as moles. Although most are visible on the skin, a few even can be hidden internally, such as at the back of the eye. Moles don't change into Melanoma overnight, instead going through a series of gradual changes. Regular screening by a dermatologist will make sure those changes are detected early.

But many people continue to ignore mole changes, and despite the fact that Melanoma represents just 4 to 5 percent of all skin cancers, it results in the most fatalities, approximately 8,000 per year.

Melanoma Monday and Skin Cancer Awareness Month (May) are also an opportunity to stress the importance of preventing all types of skin cancers. "Over 1.5 million cases of all types of skin cancer are diagnosed each year," says Dr. Morganroth."

While risk increases with age, youth is no guarantee against skin cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in younger adults. Thirty-three-year-old South Bay resident Jason Coney is an example. His wife discovered a mole on his left ear, and although he wasn't worried, he had it checked out by Dr. Morganroth. It turned out to be a melanoma. An outdoorsy person who hadn't been concerned about sun exposure previously, Coney now realizes the importance of regular screening.

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