After being diagnosed with desmoplastic melanoma in 2016, Holly Rowe has partnered with the Melanoma Research Foundation to create an awareness campaign on skin cancer. May is the Melanoma Awareness Month, and various organizations inform people on the issue of skin cancer.
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is especially dangerous, as it can spread quickly. The disease develops from the cells in our skin that produce pigment, which are responsible for the dark color of moles and the tan resulting from sunlight exposure.
Melanoma Awareness Month
Rowe is an ESPN sports telecaster, who was diagnosed with desmoplastic melanoma in 2016. According to Rowe, it all started with a mole that looked odd, which she hoped to get removed. However, when she was diagnosed, she still hoped it will be operable.
"You hear the 'c-word' and you freak. But I just thought it was something they'll cut off my skin. I didn't think it was that big of a deal," she said.
Rowe had her initial surgery in 2016. Since then, she has gone through two recurrences.
"Melanoma is a traveler. Once it goes inside your body, it's not just something on your skin," she noted.
Since she's faced the complications that can occur after this disease, she now believes that there is a huge misconception about melanoma. The reason why she decided to take part in an awareness campaign is that she believes people should be informed on how scary this disease really is, and on how powerless it can make people feel.
Rowe doesn't just pitch information on melanoma to her friends. On April 26, she was Mistress of Ceremonies for the Melanoma Research Foundation's Sixth Annual Wings of Hope for Melanoma Gala, an event that took place in Denver, Colorado.
The journalist explained how important fundraising is for research, saying that the immunotherapy she is following was unavailable a few years back. As research is the cutting edge at the moment, people who are willing to invest in cancer research play a crucial role, according to her.
Skin Cancer Data
Melanoma accounts for no more than 1 percent of all skin cancer cases. While rare, the disease is responsible for most of skin cancer deaths, an annual number of approximately 9,000 people.
In the United States, the prevalence of melanoma has reached its peak in Utah. People here have the higher risk of developing the disease, as there are approximately 32 cases every 100,000. The melanoma mortality rate in the area is almost 30 percent higher compared with the national average. Some of the potential causes are warm climates with sun reflected by water, snow, sand and ice.
Melanoma cases have doubled between 1982 and 2011. However, comprehensive skin cancer prevention programs could prevent approximately 20 percent of new cases between 2020 and 2030, according to data provided by the CDC.
More than 90 percent of melanoma skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. In 2010, 70 percent of adults in the United States reported always practicing at least one of the three possible sun-protective behaviors: using sunscreen, using sun-protective clothing or seeking shade.