AAD's skin cancer programs mark 25 years

June 1, 2010

2010 marks the 25th anniversary of three pioneering skin cancer prevention programs launched by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Key Points

Schaumburg, Ill. - 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of three pioneering skin cancer prevention programs launched by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

In fall 1984, the academy queried members about how it could make a difference in skin cancer awareness, says Darrell S. Rigel, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology, New York University. "One way was to do national skin cancer screenings," he says.

Since starting in 1985, the AAD's annual screenings have screened more than 2 million people to date, he says.

The ABCDs - now ABCDEs - of melanoma (Asymmetry, irregular Border, irregular Color, Diameter greater than 6 mm, Evolving) also turn 25 this year. Although melanoma diagnostic techniques have evolved considerably, Dr. Rigel says, "For a clinical exam, the ABCDEs are pretty effective."

The AAD's skin self-examination initiative also debuted in 1985, he notes. While it hasn't caught on as widely as the other two initiatives, "It's been effective at getting the word out to do it."