Melanoma Education Foundation
Free melanoma lessons for middle and high school students

Melanoma Education Blog
In-Depth Education on Early Self-Detection of Melanoma

May 9, 2019 | April Pulliam

Skin Checks: My How You’ve Changed

Skin checks have always been important to me. As a preteen, I obsessed over examining my skin–looking in all the right places including my back, stomach, hairline, and even my feet. I left no stone unturned– no area unchecked.

April 1, 2019 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

The Melanoma Education Foundation Presents An Evening with the Singing Trooper

The Melanoma Education Foundation will present An Evening with the Singing Trooper, a Benefit Concert in Memory of Keri McCarthy, taking place at Anthony’s of Malden featuring Dan Clark, the Singing Trooper.

March 5, 2019 | Marianne Banister, Claire's Mother

Claire’s Story

No worries, they said. “Kids don’t get melanoma.” They were wrong.

February 21, 2019 | Amanda Carpenter, MEF Ambassador

“That will never happen to me.”

Like so many teenagers, I sat in the sun for hours slathered in tanning oil. I promised my mother I would wear sunscreen, but my blistering red skin always revealed my lie.

November 15, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

MEF Evening of Perspectives

In addition to the wonderful food, music and auction, MEF also used this event as a platform to recognize members of the medical and educational community who have demonstrated a commitment to our mission of providing education focused on Melanoma early detection and prevention.

October 12, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

The Impact of MEF Melanoma Lessons

The goal of this survey was to gain insight into how high school students, middle school students, and teachers were impacted by the MEF Melanoma Lessons presented in their schools. Here is what we found…

August 29, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

The Myths of Melanoma: Part 1

August 13, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

The ABCDs or EFGs of Melanoma

A visual guide to help identify suspicious skin blemishes.

July 27, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

The Melanoma Equation and Early Detection

July 13, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

The Fairest Kids of All…Need to Do More to Protect Their Skin from Melanoma

Think that it is enough to apply sunscreen for your family beach days, kids soccer games or just doing yard work on the weekend? Think again.

June 4, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Non-Melanoma Black Skin Growths

It is important to understand that suspicious-appearing growth often turn out to be either benign, or a lesser form of skin cancer, than the potentially lethal melanoma.

May 25, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

No Clean Pill of Health: A Skin Cancer Scam

In the 19th century, they were called “Snake-Oil Salesmen”; men who traveled from town-to-town pitching useless beverages that they touted as the cure for whatever ails you. They still exist today…

May 19, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Can UV Curing of Fingernail Gels Cause Melanoma?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world. Yet there is still a long way to go to educate the public and dispel myths.

May 11, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Is a Daily Aspirin Regimen a New Melanoma Risk for Men?

Aspirin, a derivative of tree bark, has in one form or another been used to reduce pain in people for millennia. New research has revealed an awful side-effect for men who take aspirin on a regular basis.

May 4, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Four Ways to Save Lives from Melanoma

everal highly-effective ways exist with which to reach out and educate countess people instantaneously. This blog post focuses on four specific methods to get the message on melanoma out to a wide audience.

April 27, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Unlike advanced melanoma, tBasal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is rarely fatal. However, it can cause extensive skin damage and should be taken seriously.

April 6, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Dog-gone Wow! Canines Can Smell Skin Cancer, Melanoma

It has often been said that dogs are Man’s Best Friend. But the truth is that, within the world of medicine, they’re everyone’s best friend.

March 31, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Atypical Moles vs. Melanoma

Many people know that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. But what are atypical moles? Are they cancerous?

March 22, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

15 Minutes Could Save You 15 Lives or More

The goals of our mission are two-fold: teach teens how to look for and report any potential skin cancer, and teach them how they can protect themselves from getting it in the first place.

March 8, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma Questions: A True or False Quiz

Take the Melanoma Quiz—even if you guess incorrectly, you’ll still come out way ahead by having educated yourself about melanoma.

February 28, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Save Lives from Melanoma by Running the New York City Marathon

The Melanoma Education Foundation (MEF) is proud to be entering our 8th straight year as an official charity partner of the New York Road Runners Association (NYRR).

February 24, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Window Pain: A Clear Connection to Melanoma

Unprotected exposure to UV rays while driving can cause skin damage and melanoma, which can eventually lead to the same unfortunate result as a fatal car wreck.

February 16, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma Myths

Some myths can be fun or interesting. Myths about health and disease, however, are a whole different ballgame. Believing the wrong ones can lead to injury, sickness and even death.

February 11, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Occupational Risk of Melanoma

We rarely hear of any connections between specific vocations and melanoma, but such relationships do exist.

February 2, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma Potpourri

There is always something new to learn about melanoma, and skin cancer in general. Through this blog, we’re able to continually reach countless people with these updates and contribute to the public’s education on the subject. We also know that it’s important to occasionally look back and help refresh memories on the basics of this […]

January 26, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Eye Freckles: A New Melanoma Risk Factor in Younger Individuals

Most people walking along a train track would step off it if they saw a train coming at them. Spotting but then ignoring a melanoma is like seeing that train, and then watching it as it runs right through, and destroys, your body.

January 18, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

All Skin Cancer Lessons are not Created Equal

When trying to educate adolescents and teens about skin cancer, it’s very important that the information presented is not only correct, but also properly focused. Words that fall on primarily deaf ears are useless; rendering the material ineffective.

January 12, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

2018 Projected U.S. Melanoma Incidence

The American Cancer Society published an annual list of 2018 projections, an online report where they announce their numeric expectations for the development of different cancers in the United States.

January 5, 2018 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Nodular and Radial Melanoma Revisited

Last year we posted a blog that discussed and differentiated between the two primary types of melanoma, Nodular and Radial. In this post we revisit them in order to offer additional information. Also, to include photographs that provide visuals to better illustrate what to look for when performing monthly skin self-exams. Both these types of […]

December 22, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Toenail and Fingernail Melanoma

Toenail and Fingernail Melanoma, (more commonly known as Subungual Melanoma) is a rare type of the disease that falls within the Acral Lentiginous Melanoma classification. Like Ocular Melanoma, subungual is one of the few melanomas that medical science does not believe to be caused by UV (ultraviolet) ray exposure. Where on the Body is Subungual […]

December 14, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma on the Scalp

Six percent of melanomas develop on the scalp and neck but are responsible for 10% of all deaths resulting from the disease. The specific reasons for this remain unclear, but the scientific community does have a couple of hypotheses. In most patients, abnormal moles and skin growths are hard to see because they’re covered by […]

December 5, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Desmoplastic Melanoma

Desmoplastic melanoma is an uncommon type of melanoma, “in which the malignant cells are surrounded by fibrous tissue.”* It’s most often diagnosed in pale-toned Caucasian men who are of advancing age, or who are elderly. In New Zealand, (which along with Australia sits atop the list of countries with the highest overall prevalence of skin […]

November 25, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Spitz Nevus: Mistaken Melanoma in Children

Potentially fatal melanoma is an ugly disease, both literally and figuratively. But it is important to know that it does have several ugly, benign “mimics” that may look similar, yet aren’t harmful. One such mimic is called Spitz nevus, which sounds scary but is nothing more than an uncommon, seldom cancerous mole that develops primarily […]

November 16, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Melanoma, the worst form of skin cancer, goes from nearly a 100% cure rate if caught earlier enough, to a painfully fatal disease if caught too late. But Merkel Cell Carcinoma is even more dangerous than melanoma, because its speed of growth is much faster.

November 9, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Important New Information on Spotting Nodular Melanoma

Many people who look for nodular melanoma concentrate their focus on finding new or changing dark-hued, irregularly-shaped moles and skin growths, which is consistent with ABCDE. That is, it was- prior to a recent, vital change.

November 2, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

More Tanning Salons Ignoring State Laws

Washington D.C. joins more than 40 states that have put laws in place to protect minors from the highly dangerous act of indoor tanning. While that is a good thing in theory, laws are useless when they’re not obeyed.

October 26, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma Mimics

To better illustrate the appearance of mimics, we’ll present six photographs of common skin conditions that have been mistaken for melanoma.

October 18, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Oral Melanoma

Oral melanoma is a rare type of melanoma not caused by UV rays. It accounts for 1% of all melanomas, and is most common in Asians.

October 5, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Age Spots and Melanoma

If you’re a nonmedical layperson, you know them as age spots, sun spots or liver spots. If you’re a doctor, they’re solar lentigines or actinic lentigines. Whatever you call them though, while visually unappealing most age spots are benign (safe/noncancerous). They can start to appear as early as a person’s 40’s, usually on the face, […]

September 27, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma Does Not Discriminate: The Story of Jacqueline Smith

One of the more difficult tasks when educating the public about melanoma, is helping to dispel the notion that it’s a “whites only” disease. While it’s true that whites are statistically much more susceptible to melanoma, it can develop in any person from any race. What’s also not widely known is, for various reasons, while […]

September 21, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Sun Safety-Based Lessons are Ineffective for Educating Teens About Skin Cancer

Over the 18 years since the Melanoma Education Foundation (MEF) was founded, we’ve learned that the success of sun safety instruction varies, depending on the age of the students. Sun safety education has a much greater effect on elementary school students than it does on teens who attend junior high and high school. Sloan Kettering […]

September 13, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanomas with No Identified Primary Site

Most melanomas are initially discovered on the skin. However, in a small percentage (5%-10%) of people who’ve had a recent melanoma diagnosis, the disease has spread beyond their skin and into other organs or lymph nodes; with little-to-none of the initial blemish left visible. Regression Though the amount varies widely, to some extent we all […]

September 6, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Expediting a Dermatologist Appointment

Dermatologist appointments are often scheduled 3 or more months in advance. That’s too long to wait if you’ve found something suspicious on your skin.

August 30, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

CHANGE: The Most Important Melanoma Warning Sign

The appearance of melanomas can vary widely from one to another. They develop in many difference colors, sizes and other unique visual characteristics. For this reason, trying to discern whether a mole is cancerous just by looking at it isn’t a reliable method. Even dermatologists can’t always tell the difference based solely on appearance. However, […]

August 23, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

A Melanoma Menu

There is a lot to learn about melanoma. On the surface, it’s a fairly-straightforward subject; yet it’s also one that carries with it many important subtopics. This piece consists of selections from our previously published posts on the subject. To view the original Melanoma Education Foundation (MEF) article on any of the topics below, simply […]

August 17, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Intermittent Sun Exposure and Melanoma Risk

Our efforts to increase melanoma education often include clearing up various misconceptions about the disease. Those who’ve never been taught much about skin cancer tend to make incorrect assumptions about it. One of these beliefs is that melanoma incidence is highest in southern states, and among people who consistently spend time out in the sun. […]

August 11, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Moles and Sun: A Dangerous Combination

exposure to dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays from our sun can create mutations on moles that cause nevi to turn from safely benign, to dangerously malignant (cancerous).

August 3, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Indirectly Speaking: The Impact of Secondary UV Exposure

Even among those who make a concerted effort to practice sun-safety, there remains a tendency to forget about the impact that secondary, or indirect, sun exposure has on our skin.

July 27, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Mole Mapping

If you have high skin cancer risk factors, or those who have over 50 moles, or too many moles to easily track yourself, mole mapping is a useful tool. Even better, the procedure is non-invasive and completely painless.

July 20, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

SPF: Fact versus Fiction

Each day, more people learn about the importance of wearing sunscreen whenever they’re outdoors to shield themselves against the sun’s harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays. While that news is heartening, getting that information out is only half of the battle. If a user misunderstands how a sunscreen’s Sun Protection Factor (SPF) works, or if the product […]

July 14, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma Risk Factors

There’s no question that a primary trigger in developing skin cancer (and its most lethal form, melanoma) is unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, there are some factors that can increase our susceptibility. Some of them are within our control, and, unfortunately, some of them are not. Regardless, it’s still vital to […]

July 5, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Freckles versus Moles

The name of this week’s skin cancer blog post may sound a bit like the title of a Grade B movie.  However, it’s actually a reference to a common confusion between the two titled skin conditions that we very often come across. Hopefully, this piece will help to alleviate any confusion. Freckle Facts To help […]

June 29, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Redheads and Melanoma

It’s very important for all of us to remember that UV rays, from minor sun skin damage all the way up to the potentially fatal melanoma, can impact any human being regardless of his or her race. However, due to the nature of melanoma, there are some groups of people who are more susceptible to […]

June 21, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

MEF’s Focus on Education Over Research

We discovered that most middle and high school health and wellness educators were uninformed about melanoma. As such, they don’t ever mention anything about it in their health classes. That is a huge lost opportunity!

June 15, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Can Smartphone Apps Detect Melanoma?

There is perhaps no greater cause for excitement than when new scientific technology is married to some aspect of medical science. And it appears that we may right now be on the cusp of another such achievement

June 7, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Unlike melanoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) (SQUAY-muss) is a fairly-common type of skin cancer that is not typically fatal. Just like melanoma though, if it’s left undiagnosed, it too can turn lethal. Squamous Cell Carcinoma can originate in any of the body’s numerous squamous cells. You may not be too surprised to […]

June 1, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Skin Cancer Education Re-imagined

The Melanoma Education Foundation (MEF) has been making great strides throughout the United States with its middle and high school-focused skin cancer lessons. Our most recent figures show that they’re used in over 1,700 different schools; spread out over every U.S. state but one. We would very much like to keep that ball rolling. (A […]

May 22, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Test Your Melanoma Knowledge

We’ve taken a slightly different approach with today’s blog post than what you have (and will) usually see from us; but it’ll be fun and educational. We have prepared for you a brief, visual quiz. It’s specifically designed to demonstrate that judging a skin growth on its looks alone is simply not enough. It’s vital […]

May 16, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

What to do if a Suspicious Growth is Found During a Skin Self-exam

One of the major tenets essential to melanoma education is for everyone to perform regular skin self-examinations. All it entails is a few minutes once a month during which you simply check over your skin from head to toe. (And palms to soles). No surface area of the body, nor inside the mouth, is to […]

May 11, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

SPF is Far Less Important than How Much is Applied

Iit’s important to apply the correct amount of sun screen This is the only way to ensure that the sun protection factor (SPF) sun-shield that you’re actually receiving is identical to what is stated on the product.

May 3, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Melanoma and the Hispanic and Latino Communities

During May, which is Melanoma Awareness Month, we’d like to occasionally revisit and expand on topics that have been briefly mentioned before. With particular regard for those that highlight how (and that) melanoma directly affects different people. Melanoma is Not Exclusive to Caucasians For those who work to spread melanoma education and awareness, one of […]

April 27, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Teacher Survey Confirms Effectiveness of Melanoma Lessons

MEF founder and president Steve Fine and Emerson student Marissa Picerno created a web-based survey to measure how effective the Foundation’s lessons have been.

April 20, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Vitamin D and Sun Exposure

re is, to some extent, confusion within the public as to whether sun exposure is needed to obtain the amount of Vitamin D sufficient to meet our bodily requirements. And, if it is; how much?

April 13, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Melanoma is a color-blind, unbiased menace to people of all ethnic backgrounds. Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM) is a symptom-free branch of melanoma that is most common in blacks, Hispanics and Asians; but also affects whites and other light-skinned races.

April 4, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Ocular Melanoma

Ocular melanoma (Officially, Uveal melanoma) is a rare form of eye cancer. It’s a belligerent cancer that can develop anywhere within a trio of sections inside the eye, (Iris, ciliary body, choroid or posterior uvea).

March 30, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Normal Moles vs. Atypical Moles

Although you’ve surely seen them countless times, you may not be aware that there are two types: normal moles, and atypical moles. (Officially, dysplastic nevi).

March 23, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Appearance Limitations in the Self-Detection of Melanoma

Melanomas can appear with a variety of looks, and looks can be deceiving.

March 16, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

In-Situ Melanoma

In-Situ (In place) Melanoma is also known as Stage 0 Melanoma and Hutchinson’s melanotic freckle. with melanoma the lower number you have the better.

March 8, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Childhood Melanoma

Melanoma is truly an awful disease. Children, who are just getting started in the world, should never have to suddenly face their own mortality.

March 2, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Self-examining for Early Signs of Melanoma

Self-examination is among the most vital weapons we all have in the fight against melanoma. There is no doubt that the more people the melanoma awareness community can reach with this message, the more lives it can save.

February 23, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Radial and Nodular Melanoma

Skin cancer is the world’s most common cancer, and its worst form is melanoma. Learn what to look for in the two main types of melanoma: radial and nodular.

February 16, 2017 | Stephen Fine, Founder and President

Introducing the Melanoma Education Foundation’s New Blog

With this initial post, however, we’d like to tell you a little about ourselves, our goals, and what to expect going forward. This is so that we may acquaint ourselves with those who are learning about us for the first time through this blog.