As we approach the end of May, National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, there’s one more very important point I’d like to make about skin cancer. Melanoma is the only preventable cancer for which the mortality rate continues to increase. In the 30-year period, from 1975 to 2005 the death rate for melanoma has increased a dramatic forty-percent. It’s gone from 225 deaths per million Americans to 310 deaths per million Americans. What does that translate to you? Well in the year 2010 with 300 million Americans that means this year 9,000 Americans will die from melanoma or one approximately every hour. The other three preventable cancers are cervical cancer, colorecatal cancer and breast cancer. The death rate from cervical cancer over that same 30-year period has dropped a dramatic sixty-percent impressively. The reason? Because of the pap-smear. Use of the pap-smear, which is a very effective screening tool for cervical cancer, results in the discovery of cervical cancer very early and as a result it is completely treatable and so not as many people die from cervical cancer as they used to. What is the pap-smear for melanoma? The only screening tool we have is the annual skin cancer screening examination. While 80% of women get pap-smears, only 25% of women get screening examinations for skin cancer. As we get towards the end of skin cancer awareness month, let me leave you with this point. I believe that any death from skin cancer is unnecessary, preventable and tragic. Please see you dermatologist soon for your skin cancer screening examination.