“We’re here today to highlight the importance of skin exams as a critical part of an overall commitment to skin cancer prevention,” said Dr. Joseph Gulfo, President and CEO of MELA Sciences, Inc. “We are proud that our advanced melanoma detection technology is helping dermatologists nationwide address this public health crisis.”
One American dies every hour from melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer. MELA Sciences, Inc. is the pioneer company behind MelaFind®, the first and only FDA-approved diagnostic tool that helps dermatologists detect melanoma at its most curable stage. MelaFind® was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in Fall 2011, and since then has strategically rolled out the technology to dermatology practices across the country.
Joining Dr. Gulfo in the Opening Bell ceremony were Gary Goldenberg, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Pathology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY; Mark S. Nestor, MD, PhD, Voluntary Associate Professor of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University Of Miami Leonard Miller School Of Medicine, and the Director of the Center for Cosmetic Enhancement and the Center for Clinical and Cosmetic Research in Aventura, Florida; and Claudia Beqaj, Director of Commercialization, MELA Sciences, Inc.
“Prevention and early detection are the most effective ways to fight the melanoma epidemic,” said Dr. Goldenberg. “Broad-spectrum sunscreens and safe sun practices are the first line of defense, along with regular skin exams. Once patients are in the office, advanced tools like MelaFind® and dermoscopy help us better evaluate atypical moles to selectively determine which may need to be biopsied.”
“Melanoma detection starts with the patient,” said Dr. Nestor. “A simple 5 minute skin exam can be the difference between life and death. So, we encourage patients to call their dermatologists and schedule an annual skin exam today.”
MELA Sciences, Inc. also hosted skin cancer exams for NASDAQ employees and media at the NASDAQ event. MelaFind® devices were available onsite and used by dermatologists to evaluate unusual moles. The hand-held tool is fast and painless, using multiple wavelengths of light to provide valuable data about how a mole is growing under the skin – in less than a minute.
MELA Sciences, Inc. recently worked with dermatologists across the country to sponsor free MelaFind® exams on May 1, the first day of National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month™. Hundreds of patients were evaluated at over 58 offices.
According to Ms. Beqaj, the time is right to educate Americans about the urgency of skin cancer exams. A recent Harris survey commissioned by MELA Sciences, Inc. found that less than one in four Americans (23%) visit a dermatologist for an annual skin examination.
“We are investing our resources to build awareness around the importance of annual skin cancer exams, working in partnership with dermatologists to change behaviors in their patient communities,” she said. “Our hope is that one day skin exams will be as common as dental visits and annual physicals, and, as a result, we’ll see the melanoma crisis subside in our lifetime.”