The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) unveiled its new public awareness campaign –SPOT Skin Cancer– to its 17,000 members at their annual meeting in San Diego. The group plans to take their message to the public on May 7, 2012 a.k.a Melanoma Monday.

The new campaign’s message is simple and powerful: Prevent. Detect. Live. Why SPOT? This word has two meanings, “to find” and “a mark.” The group is seeking to empower individuals to see a dermatologist for skin check up and indentify any changes early when skin cancer is most treatable. The AAD is urging members to get behind this cause and provide free skin cancer screenings and distribute skin cancer educational materials in their community.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the US. There are more than 3.5 million cases affecting 2 million people diagnosed each year. More than 76,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2012. The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with invasive melanoma is 1 in 52 today. This number will reach 1 in 40 by 2020 if the current pace continues.

The melanoma playing field is changing with the approval of two new drugs. Vemurafebib and ipilmumab target specific genetic mutations in melanoma cells. “Before vemurafenib and ipilimumab were introduced, beating advanced melanoma used to be virtually hopeless and now there is at least some hope for these patients,” say Darrell S. Rigel, MD, a clinical professor in the department of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, in press release. “Targeted therapy is still in its infancy, but already it has been successful in some cases of advanced melanoma. The technique shows that it will work, and I expect we’ll see even more effective treatments in the future as we fine-tune our targeting of melanoma.”

To get involved with the new campaign, visit