Epidemic Increases In Melanoma Rates Three Of Four Americans Surveyed Have
Never Had Skin Cancer Examination
Survey Commissioned by MELA Sciences, Inc. Illustrates Need to Expand Skin
Cancer Detection Habits in U.S.
IRVINGTON, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2013
IRVINGTON, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --MELA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:
Despite alarming increases in skin cancer rates in the U.S., only 24% of
American adults have had a skin check by a dermatologist. This statistic is
one of several important findings from a survey conducted online by Harris
Interactive® that reveals insights into behaviors regarding skin cancer
detection and illustrates the urgency around improved preventative care. The
study was conducted on behalf of MELA Sciences, Inc. from January 29-31, 2013,
among 2,109 Americans ages 18 and older.
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130103/NY36051LOGO )
Additional key findings:
oOnly 23% of Americans perform monthly mole self-checks
o37% of Americans believe they are not at risk for skin cancer -- in spite
of industry statistics that report 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin
oWhile 85% of U.S. adults correctly believe that moles are often
pre-cursors to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, 20% believe
that moles "are simply beauty marks"
"While many forms of cancer are on the decline, melanoma continues to rise and
in fact, is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30 and
second only to breast cancer in women ages 30 to 34," said Dr. Joseph Gulfo,
President and CEO of MELA Sciences, Inc. "We have a tremendous opportunity to
spread awareness and change the course of the disease by advocating for the
detection of melanoma at its most curable stage, and with this survey, we'll
draw attention to the importance of annual skin checks in the fight against
MELA Sciences, Inc. is the pioneer company that developed MelaFind®, the first
and only FDA-approved diagnostic tool to detect melanoma at its most curable
stage. The patient survival rate is nearly 100% if melanoma is found when
limited to the outer-most layer of the skin; once the cancer is advanced, the
five year survival rate is generally 15-20%. MelaFind® sees 2.5 mm under the
skin and uses multi-spectral light technology to provide dermatologists with
additional information when deciding which ambiguous moles to biopsy during
skin examinations. In the MelaFind® Pivotal Trial, which was the largest
positive prospective clinical study ever conducted in melanoma detection,
MelaFind® detected 98.3% of the melanomas.
"Annual skin cancer screenings are critically important because they can catch
skin cancer, including melanoma, in its earliest, most curable stage," said
Darrell Rigel, MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology, New York University. "I
advise my patients to monitor their moles on an ongoing basis and to come into
the office for a professional full-body skin cancer screening at least once a
The survey findings show that the majority of American adults (86%) have had a
physical exam by a physician but that Americans are less likely to have had a
skin cancer screening by a dermatologist. Older adults are significantly more
likely to have had a skin cancer screening, compared to their younger
counterparts (40% of those ages 55+ vs. 16% of those ages 18-54), even though
melanoma is one of the more common cancers in people younger than 30.^^1
Survey findings also show that 26% of American women have had a skin cancer
screening by a dermatologist, compared to 23% of men. Adults in the Northeast
(28%) and South (25%) are significantly more likely to have had a skin cancer
screening than those who live in the Midwest (19%).
The survey found that more than half (51%) of Americans do not regularly
conduct monthly self-exams including breast, testicular and mole checks. Women
are more likely to perform monthly mole self-checks than men (26% and 19%,
respectively). Interestingly, a larger percentage of adults who have had a
skin cancer screening by a dermatologist perform monthly mole self-checks
Even with advancements in sun protection technology and education on the
importance of sunscreen in protecting against the risks of skin cancer, the
survey shows that over two in five (43%) of U.S. adults say skin cancer "is
not something they worry about." Younger men are significantly more likely to
say they do not believe they are at risk for skin cancer than their older
counterparts (45% of men ages 18-44, 33% of men ages 55+). 37% of Americans
also agree that melanoma is treatable, no matter "what stage it is caught."
"We continue to push the need for self-exams at home and screenings by
board-certified dermatologists, as the combination of both exams gives a
higher likelihood of identifying skin cancer at earlier stages," said Laura K.
Ferris, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center. "We know that some consumers may look at smartphone
applications for guidance, but my recent study shows that these apps are not
reliable tools, with three out of four applications incorrectly classifying
30% or more of melanomas as unconcerning.^^2 There is simply no substitute for
seeing a dermatologist for a full skin cancer screening."
"During our skin cancer screenings, we now have the advantage of using
MelaFind® on unusual moles which helps us learn about the characteristics of a
mole, said Dr. Rigel. "In turn, we're becoming better diagnosticians and are
better able to identify melanoma in its most curable stages."
This survey was conducted online within the United States between January 29th
and 31st, 2013, among 2,109 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive on
behalf of RPR Marketing Communications via its Quick Query omnibus product.
Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income
were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual
proportions in the U.S. population. Propensity score weighting was used to
adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to
participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to
reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is
based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no
estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey
methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Erica Sperling at
Rpr Marketing Communications.
About MELA Sciences, Inc.
MELA Sciences, Inc. is a medical device company focused on the
commercialization of its flagship product, MelaFind^®, and its further design
and development. MelaFind is a non-invasive tool to provide additional
information to dermatologists during melanoma skin examinations. The device
uses light from visible to near-infrared wavelengths to evaluate skin lesions
up to 2.5 mm beneath the skin. The device provides information on a lesion's
level of morphologic disorganization to provide additional objective
information that may be used by dermatologists in the biopsy decision-making
process. MelaFind has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for
use in the US. In addition, MelaFind has received CE Mark approval and is
approved for use in the European Union.
For more information on MELA Sciences, Inc., visit www.melasciences.com
This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of
the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include but are
not limited to our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other
statements that contain words such as "expects," "contemplates,"
"anticipates," "plans," "intends," "believes," "assumes," "predicts" and
variations of such words or similar expressions that predict or indicate
future events or trends, or that do not relate to historical matters. These
statements are based on our current beliefs or expectations and are inherently
subject to significant known and unknown uncertainties and changes in
circumstances, many of which are beyond our control. There can be no assurance
that our beliefs or expectations will be achieved. Actual results may differ
materially from our beliefs or expectations due to financial, economic,
business, competitive, market, regulatory and political factors or conditions
affecting the company and the medical device industry in general, as well as
more specific risks and uncertainties facing the company such as those set
forth in its reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Factors that might cause such a difference
include whether MelaFind® achieves market acceptance. Given the uncertainties
affecting companies in the medical device industry such as the Company, any or
all of these forward-looking statements may prove to be incorrect. Therefore,
you should not rely on any such factors or forward-looking statements. The
Company urges you to carefully review and consider the disclosures found in
its filings with the SEC which are available at www.sec.gov and
^2 Diagnostic Inaccuracy of Smartphone Applications for Melanoma Detection.
Joel A. Wolf, BA; Jacqueline Moreau, BA; Oleg Akilov, MD; Timothy Patton, DO;
Joseph C. English, MD; Jonhan Ho, MD; Laura K. Ferris, MD, PhD
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;():1-4. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.2382.
SOURCE MELA Sciences, Inc.
Contact: For Investors: Lynn Pieper, Westwicke Partners, +1-415-202-5678; or
For Media: Erica Sperling, Rpr Marketing Communications, +1-212-317-1462,
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