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Veronique del Marmol
Background and mission Interview with Prof. Veronique del Marmol
EUROMELANOMA: background and mission Interview with Prof. Veronique del Marmol, EUROMELANOMA Europe Chair and Head of the Department of Dermatology at the Hopital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.
EUROMELANOMA was created in 1999 by a group of dermatologists in Belgium. The aim of the organization is to provide information about skin cancer prevention, (early) diagnosis, and treatment. EUROMELANOMA currently includes 33 countries, mostly within Europe.
EUROMELANOMA provides a campaign for every country, including a poster, folder, website, press releases, allowing the country to organize a local campaign in the native tongue. The campaign includes free screening by the local dermatologists. Screening involves a free clinical evaluation and completing a questionnaire. The EUROMELANOMA questionnaire is used here, which contains questions concerning the risks of skin cancer, personal and family history of skin cancer. As the questionnaire is identical throughout Europe, the highly comparable data is collected in the EUROMELANOMA database. The database is accessible for professionals through the EUROMELANOMA website. Currently there are 200.000 entries, which allows for the mapping of elements of prevention and skin cancer in Europe. The data can e.g. be linked to the use of sunbeds, and provide information on skin cancer prevention and epidemiology.
It is important that the screening is done by dermatologists, as they are the most capable in diagnosing skin cancer. The goal is to educate people, to show them that skin cancer can be seen and is easy to diagnose. The fact that skin cancer can be seen is a chance for the treatment of the disease.
A European approach to melanoma prevention is chosen because of i) the cost aspects and ii) there are big differences throughout Europe. For instance, the chances to die of skin cancer is twice as high in Eastern and Central Europe as it is in Northern Europe. This may be related to the lack of prevention in the former countries. Recently, also in these countries prevention campaigns have started. Prevention campaigns are to be adapted to the specific country, local habits, local type and levels of education.
The National data from the questionnaires are published by the group of dermatologists that organize the local campaign. EUROMELANOMA looks at the European map in relation to the prevention of skin cancer. The European data is analyzed by dermatologists and statisticians connected to EUROMELANOMA.
In the current era of the internet, the website can be used very well for communication, including adapted communication. The countries receive a website in the local language, adapted to the local needs and coordinated with the local campaign.
The goal of EUROMELANOMA is to educate about skin cancer throughout Europe, but also to eventually work on research with regard to (effective) prevention of skin cancer. EUROMELANOMA is supported by industry and policy makers, and is made possible through the aid of research grants. This should be reinforced in the future.