Since the year 2000 Malta has been joining the rest of Europe in the Euro-Melanoma Campaign. Under the direction of the Euro-Melanoma Task Force, the campaign is locally coordinated jointly by the Maltese Association of Dermatology & Venereology (MADV), and the Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Department. Dr Lawrence Scerri, President of MADV, is a founding member of the Euro-Melanoma Task Force ever since its inception meeting in Paris way back in 1999. The annual campaign, which spans over Spring & Summer, focuses on specific themes, which vary from year to year. It involves the dissemination of educational material to raise awareness about the harmful effects of the sun on human health. In the earlier years the format consisted of dissemination of printed material including posters, fliers and billboards accompanied by screening clinics and media interventions. In recent years the campaign shifted to a predominantly electronic format namely posts on social media and online news portals to be in line with evolving trends.
Given that melanoma, which is strongly linked to UV exposure, is by far the commonest skin-related cause of death worldwide, and its incidence has been progressively rising in Caucasian populations in recent decades, the two main objectives of the Euro-Melanoma awareness campaign are to promote:
- Preventionor to reduce the risk of development of melanoma (and non-melanoma skin cancers, and sun-induced premature skin ageing) through UV protection/avoidance, particularly in high-risk individuals starting from childhood.
- Early detectionand treatment of melanoma (and non-melanoma skin cancers), as this considerably influences the prognosis.
The realisation of the campaign is strongly supported by local & international pharmaceutical sponsors.
Dr Lawrence Scerri & Dr Daniel Micallef
Co-ordinators of Maltese EuroMelanoma Campaign, members of international EuroMelanoma Task Force.