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American Academy of Dermatology and LEO Pharma Launch Educational Website to Raise Awareness About Sun Damage and Skin Cancer

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and LEO Pharma want Americans to know that sunburns and premature aging aren't the only indications that their skin has been damaged by cumulative exposure to the sun. Research-based pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma has partnered with the AAD to launch Listen To Your Skin, a campaign aimed to raise awareness about the consequences and symptoms of cumulative sun damage including actinic keratosis (AK), a precancerous condition, and skin cancer. The campaign's first initiative is an informational website,, where visitors can discover more about AK and sun damage, view photos of AK and skin cancers, and find out how to check their own skin for AK and other signs of sun damage.

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"Many people are aware of the connection between melanoma and moles, but many Americans who may be at risk for skin cancer are unaware of actinic keratoses, what they look like, how to detect them and their relationship to skin cancer," says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, M.D., F.A.A.D., spokesperson for the AAD. "In fact, nonmelanoma skin cancers make up the vast majority of skin cancers diagnosed each year. We're launching this initiative specifically to raise awareness about actinic keratoses and nonmelanoma skin cancer, and help Americans understand who is at risk and how AKs can be detected."

While many Americans are aware that severe sunburns can lead to sun damage and skin cancer, sun exposure over the course of many years also contributes to significant sun damage. AK is a common precancerous skin condition caused by cumulative UV exposure. Sometimes called "sun spots" or mistaken for age spots, these often rough or scaly patches can be red, pink, gray or skin-colored and often appear on sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, and scalp.[i] It is estimated that AK currently affects up to 58 million Americans[ii], and the number of patients is growing, with the AAD estimating that 60 percent of predisposed persons older than 40 have at least one AK. People who are predisposed to developing AK tend to have fair skin, sunburn easily or have occupations or hobbies that result in excessive sun exposure.[iii] 

AK has the potential to progress to squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.[iv]

LEO Pharma and the AAD have partnered to raise awareness about the prevalence of sun damage among Americans and the lesser known signs, symptoms and consequences of overexposure to the sun, including AK and squamous cell carcinoma. While many Americans know to check for suspicious moles and are aware of the risk of melanoma associated with sun damage, this campaign aims to get Americans to listen to their skin and what it may be telling them about their lifetime sun exposure and risk of skin cancer. To find out more about AK, skin cancer and how to listen to your skin, see your dermatologist and visit

About LEO Pharma

Founded in 1908, LEO Pharma is a global independent, research-based pharmaceutical company. LEO Pharma is committed to the discovery and development of novel drugs for patients within the areas of dermatology and critical care medicine. LEO Pharma has its own sales forces in 58 countries and employs more than 3,900 employees worldwide.  For more information about LEO Pharma, visit

About the American Academy of Dermatology

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, visit

Dermatologist Ellen Marmur, M.D., is not receiving financial compensation for her participation in the "Listen to Your Skin" campaign from LEO Pharma or the American Academy of Dermatology.

[i] "Actinic Keratosis." Medline Plus. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, updated October 8, 2010. Accessed December 01, 2011. <>.

[ii] Lewin Group. Burden of Skin Diseases. 2005. Prepared for The Society for Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Accessed December 01, 2011. <>

[iii] Drake LA, Ceilley RI, Cornelison RL, et al. Guidelines of care for actinic keratoses. Committee on Guidelines of Care. J Am Acad Dermatol 1995;32:95-8.

[iv] Robinson JK. Sun Exposure, Sun Protection, and Vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294: 1541-43.


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