(Also known as National Skin Self-Examination Day)
Melanoma Monday is observed next on Monday, May 6th, 2024 (150 days from today).
Melanoma Monday on the first Monday in May is a warning during National Melanoma Month.
The American Academy of Dermatology established Melanoma Monday, which falls on the first Monday of May each year, three weeks before National Safe Sun Week, to raise awareness about the symptoms, causes, and ways of doing things. Prevention of this disease and the day has become symbolized by wearing black clothes. Melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, develops 1 in 50 Americans at some point in their lives. There are ways to prevent melanoma, so take more time today to learn how to lower your risk!
Some truths about Melanoma
- Melanoma spread rapidly
Melanoma can spread in the body faster and earlier than many other forms of cancer.
- Melanoma attacks children
While the average age for a diagnosis of another cancer is around 65-70 years, the median age for a diagnosis of melanoma is 50.
- There are many risk factors
Red hair, more than 50 moles, a family history of melanoma, sunburn as a child, and use of tanning beds are all risk factors for the disease.
- Melanoma is very treatable
While it's true that melanoma can be deadly, it's treatable if caught early - finding it right away is crucial.
- Avoid the sun to reduce risk
The most effective way to reduce your risk of melanoma is simple - practice sun safety and avoid being in the sun for long periods of time!
History of Melanoma Monday
Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, did not enter recorded history until the 5th century BC. Hippocrates, who was the first to write about the disease, described it using the Greek terms 'melas' and 'oma', meaning 'dark' and 'tumour', respectively. There is little or no form of treatment.
Very little additional understanding of melanoma was achieved until the 18th century when the physician John Hunter first removed metastatic melanoma. While his procedure was successful, he wasn't really sure exactly what he did. He called melanoma "a cancer that develops into a fungus," and it was not until 1968 that the preserved tumor was identified as melanoma.
In the early 1800s, there were many medical advances in melanoma. Dr. René Laennec was the first distinguisher of melanoma, and he named it 'melanose' in 1804. In 1826, Thomas Fawdington admitted that medical science was still very unclear about what causes melanoma. Sir Robert Carswell then coined the term 'melanoma' in 1838.
In 1844, melanoma was still considered incurable. Samuel Cooper famously said that the only hope of people with melanoma is early elimination. However, there is still testing. In 1892, Herbert Snow championed the treatment that removed not only the tumor but also the surrounding glands. An important 1905 development in treatment by William Handley led doctors to remove all of the subcutaneous tissue and lymph nodes surrounding the melanoma, a practice that has remained in practice for 50 years.
Modern knowledge of melanoma exploded in 1956, when Henry Lancaster realized that it was ultraviolet radiation and exposure to sunlight that caused the disease. Today, we know that many genetic factors - like fair skin, family history and eye color - can all indicate an increased risk of melanoma, beyond simple sun exposure. Although today there is a general understanding of how to prevent, identify, and treat melanoma, research on the disease is continuing.
Some reasons for Melanoma Monday being loved
- It raises awareness
Because of the average age of a person with melanoma is younger than with most cancers, many people at risk haven't really thought about cancer yet. Second, melanoma is an important step toward raising awareness and avoiding a painful and life-changing diagnosis.
- It supports people with melanoma
Besides encouraging those at risk to get their skin checked, Melanoma Monday also raises awareness of the disease millions of people battle. It illuminates their struggles - wearing a skin cancer bracelet or an all-black outfit helps them feel seen.
- It provides resources
You may know about melanoma, but not know how to prevent or cure it. Knowing how to safely enjoy time in the sun and where to seek medical attention or treatment is important to reducing the impact of the disease in the population and avoiding self-diagnosis.
How to celebrate Melanoma Monday
- Wear black
Since Melanoma Monday was founded by the American Academy of Dermatology, the color black has symbolized melanoma awareness. Put on your best black outfit and go out to spread some support and awareness.
- Learn about melanoma prevention and diagnosis
Educating yourself is a great place to start! From prevalence in the population to risk factors to types of skin cancer, there is a lot of information to be learned. If you think you are at risk or have a suspicious mole, schedule a skin test.
- Post #MelanomaMonday on social media
Since this day is all about spreading awareness about melanoma, what better way to reach people than through social media? Infection prevention and diagnosis tips may just save the life of someone in your social circle.
ObservedMelanoma Monday has been observed the first Monday in May.
Monday, May 2nd, 2022
Monday, May 1st, 2023
Monday, May 6th, 2024
Monday, May 5th, 2025
Monday, May 4th, 2026
American Academy of Dermatology in 1995