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Argentine dermatologists target psoriasis, leprosy, skin cancer


Buenos Aires — "Controle sus lunares por una piel sana" (control your moles for a healthy skin) is a message that people throughout Argentina heard repeatedly last November, thanks to the efforts of Rebeca Rubinson, M.D., and her colleagues at the Sociedad Argentina de Dermatologia (SAD) here. Dr. Rubinson is a pediatric dermatologist affiliated with Hospital Abel Zubizarreta in Buenos Aires and the coordinator of the 2004 campaign on recognition and prevention of skin cancer.

Goals"The main goals of the SAD are scientific and educational and are aimed at both physicians and the public," Dr. Cabo says. "We sponsor educational campaigns, and we issue guidelines and recommendations on topics such as skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, psoriasis and acne."

The SAD distributes materials to dermatologists all over the country with each campaign. To promote public awareness, the SAD pays to advertise the campaigns in newspapers and on television and radio throughout Argentina. During the campaigns, anyone can go to a participating clinic to receive free consultations and informative brochures describing the condition and its prevention and treatment.

"Most dermatololgists participate on a volunteer basis," Dr. Rubinson says.

No limitThe SAD does not limit its educational outreach services to the one- or two-week periods designated for each campaign, though. With the skin cancer prevention program, for example, the outreach efforts are year-round.

"During the year, we try to go to schools to make teachers and professionals working with children aware of the dangers of sun damage," Dr. Rubinson says. "Doctors go to the classrooms and talk to the children in primary and secondary schools. We want to educate children on how they can protect themselves against sun damage and how to use sunscreens."

The SAD is eager to promote skin-cancer awareness in children, because regular use of sunscreen during youth has been shown to reduce the lifetime incidence of the most common skin cancers.

"We try to establish a habit of using sunscreens in early childhood," Dr. Rubinson says.

In addition to the educational campaigns, the SAD sponsors an annual scientific meeting that attracts more than 2,500 dermatologists, primarily from Argentina and neighboring countries.

"We had a busy program last year in the Congreso Argentino," Dr. Cabo says.

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