Former NFL coach tells men not to fear skin cancer screening

May 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM
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NEW YORK, May 4 (UPI) -- One-in-6 men don't want to get a skin cancer screening because they are afraid of what they will hear, a U.S. survey indicates.

Former NFL coach Bill Cowher, who is teaming up with several skin cancer organizations and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. on an educational campaign, Melanoma Exposed, said this fear of screening might account for men being almost twice as likely as women to die of melanoma.

The survey also found nearly two-thirds don't see a point in going to a dermatologist unless something is wrong, even while skin cancer incidence rates continue to rise.

The campaign is working with five professional football teams to spread the word about melanoma and bring free skin cancer screenings to the public via free skin cancer screenings at pro football events, the former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers said.

Last year, these events screened nearly 2,000 people, identifying 26 potential melanomas. This year, the campaign is encouraging men to put their excuses aside and make skin cancer screenings a priority and catch melanoma in its early stages.

"As a former football coach, one of my biggest lessons to my players was about being accountable for their actions. I apply this 'no excuses' attitude to my health as well. There should never be any excuses for not taking the best possible care of your health," Cowher said in a statement. "Getting your skin screened by a dermatologist is quick and easy -- it takes about 10 minutes. Men need to face the truth and learn the facts about melanoma. By not getting screened early and routinely, they are putting themselves at greater risk."

The other groups taking part in putting on the education campaign include the Melanoma International Foundation, the Melanoma Research Alliance, the Melanoma Research Foundation and The Skin Cancer Foundation.

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