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Skin Check Campaign Responds to the 32,369 Melanomas Missed During the Covid-19 Pandemic



WASHINGTON, DC (May 9, 2022) – The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), a leading melanoma patient advocacy group and member of the Global Melanoma Coalition, highlights the scale of unidentified melanoma during the pandemic and encourages the habit of conducting monthly skin self-examinations.

A global survey of over 700 dermatologists, conducted during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, suggested a third (33.6%) of professional skin exams were missed due to lockdowns. As a result, dermatologists estimate that a fifth (21%) of early-stage melanoma may have gone undiagnosed compared with normal years. When these numbers are compared with recognized incidence rates from the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 130,375 melanoma have been missed globally, and 32,369 in the United States.

“Thanks to Covid-19, national lockdowns and pressure on healthcare systems means other diseases, including potentially deadly melanoma, have gone undetected and untreated, said MRF CEO Kyleigh LiPira.  “The need for people to check their skin regularly has never been more important.”

To address the global rise of undiagnosed melanomas, we encourage the use of the Global Coalition’s ‘Skin Check’ app and self-exam video:

Some useful Skin Check tools have been created as part of the campaign:

  1. A voice-activated digital assistant ‘Skin Check’ app – Available (in English, Spanish and Italian) on Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant platform, the app guides people through what to look for, and the seven steps for conducting a full-body skin exam. The assistant finishes by offering to set a recurring monthly reminder for the exam. To use the Alexa app, it should first be enabled by saying “Alexa, enable Skin Check” to your Alexa device, then simply “Alexa, open Skin Check”. To use the Google App, just say “Hey Google, talk to Skin Check”.
  2. A skin self-exam video – Similar in scope to the app, the video covers the ABCD&E warning signs of melanoma, and the seven steps for checking the body. Pauses between the seven steps have been included in the film, so that the viewer can simply take their phone or tablet into a bathroom, hit play, and follow the instructions in real time. The video is available at the Global Coalition’s YouTube channel.

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About the Melanoma Research Foundation 

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research to develop effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. The MRF is a dedicated advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s website is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org. Find the MRF on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram. 

About The Global Melanoma Coalition

The Global Melanoma Coalition (previously the Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy) was formed in 2014 by the Melanoma Research Foundation in response to the global need to bring the patient voice to the melanoma space.

The group has grown to include organizations from 28 different countries and is enthusiastically supported by its partners around the world, as well as the global patient, healthcare and pharmaceutical communities. The Coalition meets the vital needs of the worldwide melanoma community through three working groups, which each specialize in a unique area that addresses globally relevant issues for melanoma patients, encompassing:

  • Melanoma Awareness and Patient Resources
  • Patient Advocacy and Access to Treatment
  • Collaboration and Recruitment

The Global Melanoma Coalition meets annually and is determined to make the deadliest skin cancer curable through its worldwide partnership. For more information or with questions about The Global Melanoma Coalition, email [email protected].

About the survey

The short survey was conducted in November and December 2020, receiving a total of 734 responses from professional dermatologists across 36 countries. Dermatologists were asked to estimate the proportion of skin check appointments missed due to the pandemic (33%) and estimate the proportion of undiagnosed melanomas (21%) compared to a normal year. These figures were then compared with official World Health Organization data for melanoma incidence rates to derive an estimated number of undiagnosed melanomas during the COVID pandemic (March 2020 to April 2021 inclusive).