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Epidemic Increases In Melanoma Rates Three Of Four Americans Surveyed Have Never Had Skin Cancer Examination

IRVINGTON, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- MELA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: MELA). Despite alarming increases in skin cancer rates in the U.S., only 24% of American adults have had a skin check by a dermatologist. This statistic is one of several important findings from a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive® that reveals insights into behaviors regarding skin cancer detection and illustrates the urgency around improved preventative care. The study was conducted on behalf of MELA Sciences, Inc. from January 29-31, 2013, among 2,109 Americans ages 18 and older.

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Additional key findings:
  • Only 23% of Americans perform monthly mole self-checks
  • 37% of Americans believe they are not at risk for skin cancer -- in spite of industry statistics that report 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer annually
  • While 85% of U.S. adults correctly believe that moles are often pre-cursors to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, 20% believe that moles "are simply beauty marks"

"While many forms of cancer are on the decline, melanoma continues to rise and in fact, is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30 and second only to breast cancer in women ages 30 to 34," said Dr. Joseph Gulfo, President and CEO of MELA Sciences, Inc. "We have a tremendous opportunity to spread awareness and change the course of the disease by advocating for the detection of melanoma at its most curable stage, and with this survey, we'll draw attention to the importance of annual skin checks in the fight against melanoma."

MELA Sciences, Inc. is the pioneer company that developed MelaFind®, the first and only FDA-approved diagnostic tool to detect melanoma at its most curable stage. The patient survival rate is nearly 100% if melanoma is found when limited to the outer-most layer of the skin; once the cancer is advanced, the five year survival rate is generally 15-20%. MelaFind® sees 2.5 mm under the skin and uses multi-spectral light technology to provide dermatologists with additional information when deciding which ambiguous moles to biopsy during skin examinations. In the MelaFind® Pivotal Trial, which was the largest positive prospective clinical study ever conducted in melanoma detection, MelaFind® detected 98.3% of the melanomas.

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