As you probably know, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month – a time to spread awareness and education on skin cancer prevention and the importance of regular screenings. With May right around the corner, do you have skin cancer awareness built into your upcoming marketing, advocacy or PR plans?
Participating in Skin Cancer Awareness Month can be as simple as adding skin cancer education content into your existing marketing materials, social media and website, encouraging patients to keep up on their skin cancer screenings. You can also hold skin cancer screening events in your practice to spread the word. One such event is the Spot Me® free skin cancer screening program, which is sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
The Spot Me campaign takes place each May and aims to create a world without skin cancer through public awareness, community outreach programs and advocacy to promote the prevention, detection and care of skin cancer. AAD members can participate in the event and hold free skin cancer screenings in their practices. Since its inception in 1985, dermatologists have conducted more than 2.8 million free skin cancer screenings with more than 278,000 suspicious lesions detected, and more than 31,500 suspected melanomas.
What is the Difference Between a Public and Private Screening?
- Private screenings are usually conducted for a specific organization and are only offered to internal employees. Public screenings are offered to the general community with no restrictions on who can attend. The AAD promotes public screenings but does not promote private screenings.
Who Can Assist at a Spot Me Screening?
- Medical personnel, including well-trained physician assistants and nurse practitioners, can screen under the direct supervision of a dermatologist. However, an AAD member MUST serve as the screening director and be in attendance at the screening.
When Do Most Free Skin Cancer Screenings Take Place?
- Many screenings are held between May through August. However, screenings can take place at any time during the year. The AAD reminds the public of the importance of year-round sun protection, so hosting a screening in the winter months is still appropriate.
Whether you participate in a Spot Me screening, holding another screening event on your own or taking other steps to create awareness, here are a few things to consider:
- Pitch to your media. Skin cancer detection and prevention are important and sharing news releases on your involvement with this can be of interest to your local media. If you do hold a screening event or something similar at your practice, send a news release to your local media outlets sharing this info. You can do this prior to the screening event to generate interest and attendance and afterwards to share a follow-up about the event. If you’re not holding an event, you can also pitch feature stories to your local newspapers, magazines or news websites. This can discuss the importance of cancer screenings, tips to avoid skin cancer, etc.
- Look for other educational opportunities. There are many other things you can do to spread the word. In addition to pitching to your radio or TV outlets, suggest and take advantage of interview opportunities if they’re interested. You can go on to simply share information on skin cancer treatment or prevention or promote any events your having in conjunction. If you have educational materials in your office, highlight the skin cancer-focused items during May. The same goes for your website. If you have this information already on your site, look for ways to highlight it more. You can also link back to the AAD’s activity pages for more info.
- Get social. Your social media pages are a great, accessible way to share a variety of continued messages about skin cancer during this campaign, whether simple posts, infographics or videos.
You can find full information on the Spot me program, including guidelines, event tips and more here online. If you’re a member of the AAD, you can log in to your account and find additional resources, educational material, talking points, etc.
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