Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, affecting one in five Americans in their lifetime. To help raise awareness of skin cancer prevention and detection, 12 dermatologists, skin cancer survivors, and their family and friends will tell "Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!" during a four-day trek through remote Alaska. Starting Sunday, July 15, the hikers will trek more than 20 miles along Alaska's Denali and Foraker mountains to raise funds for the American Academy of Dermatology's SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign. Proceeds raised through Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!™ will support community outreach programs and services, including free skin cancer screenings, shade structures where children learn and play, and sunscreen dispensers in public pools and parks.
"As a dermatologist and skin cancer survivor myself, this is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart," said board-certified dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, FAAD, associate clinical professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who is leading the team of hikers. "Skin cancer affects more Americans than any other cancer, yet most cases are preventable by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and generously applying sunscreen before going outdoors. In addition, everyone should check their skin regularly and call a board-certified dermatologist if they notice any new or suspicious spots or any spots that are changing, itching or bleeding."
It is estimated that more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. While skin cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed early, it can be deadly. On average, one American dies from melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – every hour.
Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!™ began in 2014 when Dr. Marmur and 11 others impacted by skin cancer climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for skin cancer awareness. Since then, Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!™ has grown to include six fundraising events throughout the country and raised more than $800,000. This year's events are generously supported by national sponsors, including Coppertone, Endo Pharmaceuticals and EltaMD, Inc.
"I learned the hard way how to be vigilant about sun protection, and I want to prevent other families from experiencing the same," said Dr. Marmur. "Join us in the fight against skin cancer by supporting this hike. Your support will help save lives by funding skin cancer prevention and detection programs and supporting our vision of a world without skin cancer."
Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!™ is part of the Academy's SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign to reduce mortality from and the incidence of skin cancer through public awareness, community outreach programs and services, and advocacy that promote the prevention, detection and care of skin cancer. Thanks to the campaign's dedicated hikers and donors, the AAD's SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign has provided more than 2.7 million free skin cancer screenings, built more than 350 shade structures, and installed 52 sunscreen dispensers in public pools and parks.
In addition to the Alaska trek, Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!™ will include five other fundraising hikes in 2018:
- Saturday, Sept. 29 – Elk Grove Village, Ill.
- Saturday, Nov. 3 – Atlanta, Ga.
- Saturday, Nov. 10 – Phoenix, Ariz.
- Saturday, Nov. 10 – Orange County, Calif.
- Saturday, Nov. 10 – Las Vegas, Nev.
The hikes attract adults and families who are active in outdoor activities and excited to promote sun safety and skin cancer awareness in their communities.