The Melissa Fund
PO Box 114
East Setauket, NY 11733


Did you know that…

  • We receive approximately 25% of our lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18?
  • Your skin remembers every sunburn and suntan you’ve ever had?
  • Ultraviolet light permanently alters the DNA in your skin cells?
  • One blistering sunburn in childhood doubles a person’s lifetime risk for developing melanoma?
  • More than 5 non-blistering sunburns in a lifetime doubles a person’s risk for developing melanoma?

Skin Cancer Facts

  • There are more than 2 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year in the US and the incidence keeps rising.
  • There are 68,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed every year.
  • While melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, it is the most deadly, accounting for 75% of all skin cancer deaths.
  • Once melanoma has spread, there is no cure. The key to eradicating this deadly disease is prevention and early diagnosis.

What Can I Do?
Protect Yourself and Your Children

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure during the peak intensity hours from 10 am-4pm
  • Wear sun protective clothing with a UPF of 50 or more
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and a hat with a wide brim
  • Slop on sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Apply before you leave the house, and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming and sweating
  • Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight
  • Perform skin self-exams monthly, to look for moles that might have changed. Have a loved one check your back.
  • Get your skin checked yearly by a dermatologist for signs of sun damage and atypical moles. This could save your life.

What is Melanoma? 
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that originates in the pigment-producing cells of the skin. It can develop as a new small pigmented growth on normal skin, or from a pre-existing pigmented mole. Melanoma usually strikes the regions of the body that are sun-exposed, but readily spreads or metastasizes to distant parts of the body.

Early Detection is the Key to Treatment
The key to appropriate treatment of melanoma is early detection. The earlier melanoma is detected, the higher the survival rate. By seeking out a dermatologist for yearly skin checks, and becoming familiar with the following “warning signs”, you can help protect yourself against melanoma.

Melanoma Warning Signs:

  • Enlarging pigmented spot or mole
  • Changes in color of an existing mole
  • Changes in characteristics of skin over the pigmented spot, such as changes in size or shape
  • Bleeding or breaking open

A popular checklist for Melanoma warning signs is A-B-C-D: (source:

    A. ASYMMETRY - One half unlike the other half
    B. BORDER Irregular - Scalloped or poorly circumscribed border
    C. COLOR Varied - From one area to another, shades of brown and tan; black; sometimes white, red or blue
    D. DIAMETER - Larger than 6mm as a rule (diameter of a pencil eraser)