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SEATTLE - (May 8, 2009) — Virginia Mason Medical Center (VM) will host free, walk-in skin cancer screenings on May 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Seattle Main Campus Section of Dermatology. The screenings are part of a national campaign to encourage early detection and prevention of skin cancer sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

"The key to the successful treatment of most types of cancer is early detection and treatment," said Ulrike Ochs, MD, Dermatology section head. "When treated in its earliest stages, melanoma can be highly curable. The average five-year survival rate for individuals whose melanoma is localized and has not spread is 99 percent. Therefore, we want to encourage everyone to start a new life-saving habit by having regular skin cancer screenings."

Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. A survey commissioned by the AAD showed that less than one-third of Americans currently examine their skin for signs of melanoma and more than half don't know the signs of melanoma. VM's dermatologists hope to change this by holding the free skin cancer screening event for the general public. Participants do not need to be patients of Virginia Mason to receive the free screening and do not need an appointment.

The Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason is also dedicated to providing skin cancer care and recently established a comprehensive Melanoma Program. A specialty team of dermatologists, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, surgeons and nurses offer coordinated clinical care to patients diagnosed with melanoma.

Event Summary

WHAT: Free, Walk-in Skin Cancer Screenings

WHO: Board-certified dermatologists from the Virginia Mason Section of Dermatology

WHEN: Thursday, May 21 from 4 to 7 p.m.

WHERE: Virginia Mason Seattle Main Campus, Lindeman Pavilion, Dermatology, Level 9, 1201 Terry Ave., Seattle, Wash.

COST: Free

Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital in Seattle. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Adult Day Health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

American Academy of Dermatology
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 16,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or

For media inquiries only, contact:
Alisha Mark
(206) 341-1509

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