Skin Cancer Foundation

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The Skin Cancer Foundation
Logo 200x200
Founded 1979
Founder Perry Robins, MD
Focus skin cancer prevention, early detection and treatment
  • 149 Madison Avenue, Suite 901, New York, NY
Area served
United States, International
Method public education, professional organization

The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF), founded in 1979 by dermatologist and Mohs surgeon Perry Robins, MD,[1] is a global organization solely devoted to educating the public and medical community about skin cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.[2] The foundation's professional membership includes dermatologists, Mohs surgeons, plastic surgeons and other medical professionals working to fight skin cancer.[3] Headquartered in New York City, the foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity.[4]

Background statistics[edit]

Each year in the U.S., nearly 5 million patients are treated for skin cancer[5] and more than 16,000 people die from the disease.[6][7][8] The primary cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning beds.[9] The incidence and impact of skin cancer can be dramatically reduced through education, lifestyle changes, and early detection.[10][11]

Public information[edit]

Annually, the foundation distributes over two million[12] pieces of medically reviewed[13] educational information on sun protection and skin cancer, including brochures; posters; The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal, published annually; books; and the quarterly newsletters The Melanoma Letter and Sun & Skin News. All of the Foundation's content is medically reviewed by physicians.[14] The annual Journal and the newsletters are distributed regularly to most dermatologists' offices nationwide. In addition, the Foundation's educational materials are distributed through corporate partnerships and programs such as The Road to Healthy Skin Tour, an annual skin cancer screening program across the United States.[15] The Foundation's clinical information brochures are also available in French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.[16], the foundation's website, contains more than 600 pages of medically reviewed content on skin cancer prevention, treatment and early detection, including a Skin Cancer Facts section and information on getting involved in skin cancer advocacy. Patients can seek medical referrals at the site's Physician Finder. receives more than 10 million visitors annually,[17] and includes content in French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian.[18] The Foundation has also launched a Spanish-language website,

The Melanoma Letter is a quarterly newsletter covering the latest melanoma research on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, authored by physicians and scientists for the medical profession. Its medical editors are Allan C. Halpern MD, Chief, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Ashfaq A. Marghoob, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.[19]

Sun & Skin News is a quarterly consumer newsletter focusing on sun safety issues and skin cancer news, targeting patients and other interested lay readers. It is medically reviewed by Ritu Saini, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center.[20]

The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal[21] is published each May as a full-color glossy magazine, providing the lay public with articles on sun protection and skin cancer prevention, early detection and cutting-edge treatments. Authored by physicians and The Skin Cancer Foundation's staff writer/editors, the Journal also includes personal stories on people impacted by skin cancer. The Journal's medical editor Pearon G. Lang, Jr., MD, is with Trident Dermatology, in Charleston, SC, and formerly was a professor of Dermatology, Pathology, Otolaryngology and Communicative Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.[22]

Seal of Recommendation[edit]

Sunscreen products with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15+ for "daily use" or SPF 30+ for "active use," as well as other types of sun protection products with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 30+ may be eligible to apply for the Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.[23] The Seal is granted to sunscreens, sunglasses, UV-protective auto and residential window film, umbrellas, sun protective clothing, and laundry additives that meet the criteria[24][25] of an independent Photobiology Committee.[26] For sunscreen products, The Seal is divided into two categories:[27] Daily Use for short-term exposure and Active, for extended exposure.


Funding is provided annually for research and clinical studies in medical institutions throughout the U.S. Since 1981, more than $1.5 million has been awarded to fund over 150 projects.[28] Proposals are evaluated by the Foundation's Research Grants Review Committee.


Current Skin Cancer Foundation programs include:

The Road to Healthy Skin Tour,[29] presented by Rite Aid,[30] is an annual skin cancer screening program featuring a customized RV that travels the U.S., stopping in cities for free skin cancer screening events with local, volunteer dermatologists. More than 8,500 suspected skin cancers and precancers have been detected since the program began in 2008, including more than 369 suspected melanomas.[31]

Go With Your Own Glow is a print ad campaign aimed at encouraging members of the public to embrace their natural skin color and helping them understand that tanning is unhealthy and out of style. The ad campaign has generated more than 600 million media impressions, appearing 100 times in more than 45 magazines, such as Marie Claire; Harper's Bazaar; O, The Oprah Magazine; Time; Newsweek; and People.[32][33]

Sun Smart U is a free education program that teaches young people about skin cancer prevention and instills lifelong sun safety behaviors, such as seeking shade and wearing sun-protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The curriculum also emphasizes the importance of early detection, providing information on and photos showing the warning signs of skin cancer. Video stories of young adults living with skin cancer are included, along with their advice for children.[34][35][36]


The foundation is a core member of The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, a coordinating body that seeks to establish a national action agenda on skin cancer and stricter regulations of UV tanning beds and lamps. In May 2014, the FDA issued an order to re-classify tanning beds from class 1 (low-risk) to class II (moderate-risk) devices.[37]

The foundation is a founding member of the PASS (Public Access to Sunscreens) Coalition, an alliance of health organizations, sunscreen ingredient companies, and concerned citizens, who have urged the FDA to speed up its review process of new sunscreen ingredients. On November 25, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Sunscreen Innovation Act--- which the PASS coalition helped introduce—streamlining the FDA's review process of new sunscreens and setting deadlines for decisions on new applications.

International outreach[edit]

Public education abroad is sponsored by the foundation’s International Advisory Council, representing 23 countries.[38] The Foundation sponsors the annual International Dermatology Exchange Program[39] and the biennial World Congress on Cancers of the Skin, which convenes in different countries around the world.[40] 2018 will see the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin be held in Sydney, attracting around 1, 500 attendees.[41]

The Skin Cancer Foundation has received the American Academy of Dermatology’s Excellence in Education Award and 14 Gold Triangle Awards for Community Service.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NY Medical Skin Solutions. Accessed December, 2014.
  2. ^ Charity Navigator. The Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed July 23, 2010.
  3. ^ Professional Membership.
  4. ^ GuideStar. Skin Cancer Foundation Inc. Accessed July 23, 2010.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Karia PS, Han J, Schmults CD. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: estimated incidence of disease, nodal metastasis, and deaths from disease in the United States, 2012. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 June; 68(6):957-66.
  8. ^ Mohan SV, Chang ALS. Advanced basal cell carcinoma: epidemiology and therapeutic innovations. Curr Dermatol Rep 2014; 3(1):40-45. Published online Feb 9, 2014. doi: 10.1007/s13671-014-0069-y
  9. ^ Narayanan, DL; Saladi, RN; Fox, JL (September 2010). "Ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer". International journal of dermatology. 49 (9): 978–986. PMID 20883261. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2010.04474.x. Taken together, epidemiologic studies and experimental studies in laboratory animals indicate that intermittent intense and chronic exposures to solar UVR are the primary cause of NMSCs and melanoma. 
  10. ^ Skincancer prevention and early detection. American Cancer Society.
  11. ^ Espey D. You can help prevent skin cancer. Medscape Multispecialty September 3, 2014.
  12. ^ Education efforts. Skin Cancer Foundation Website.
  13. ^ The Skin Cancer Foundation. Medical Editors. Skin Cancer Foundation Website.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Road to Healthy Skin Tour. Skin Cancer Foundation Website.
  16. ^ All brands. The Skin Cancer Foundation online store.
  17. ^ Where Your Money Goes.
  18. ^ Other Languages.Translated skin cancer information.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Sun & Skin News.
  21. ^ 27 Years of the Journal. The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal 2009; 27:80.
  22. ^ Medical Editors.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Seal of Recommendation.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Rite Aid Kicks off Summer as Presenting Sponsor of The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Road to Healthy Skin Tour.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Road to Healthy Skin Tour Concludes Seventh Cross-Country Journey.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ News.Skin Cancer Foundation Receives Award for Sun Smart U.
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ The Skin Cancer Foundation. International Advisory Council. Accessed July 26, 2010.
  39. ^ International Dermatology Exchange Program.
  40. ^ The Skin Cancer Foundation. International. Accessed July 26, 2010.
  41. ^ "Australian invention the best skin cancer prevention". Business Events Sydney. Retrieved 2017-05-25. 
  42. ^ American Academy of Dermatology. Gold Triangle Awards. Accessed July 26, 2010.

External links[edit]