Marmur Medical Blog

Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!

The journey will begin on July 18, 2014 and we all wish them the best of luck! Please see details below to see how you can help Dr. Ellen Marmur and her team reach their goals.

Skin cancer. It’s often swept under the rug due to the prominence of its more famous cousins of breast, so called “below the belt” (prostate, cervical etc.), and lung cancers. However, statistically speaking, skin cancer is the MOST common cancer to be diagnosed in the world, with 1 in 5 Americans being diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Why shouldn’t it get the same attention as all the rest?

SPOT Skin Cancer® is an initiative sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology. It’s mandate is to spread public awareness of skin cancer, as well as providing clinical presentation and detection programs. The programs sponsored by SPOT Skin Cancer® are targeted at educating and motivating individuals to make the necessary positive behavioural changes to detect and prevent skin cancer. Not only does the campaign raise public awareness, they also provide opportunities for free skin cancer screenings, and free shade structures throughout the country in which one may take refuge from the sun.

Fortunately, most skin cancers are truly preventable; some sunscreen, sun-protective clothing and regular skin checks are all really someone needs to diminish their risks of developing a cancer or increase the risk of detecting a skin cancer early enough to treat. However, the public does not often even take these simple steps. For instance, my parents are from the age where sun protection did not exist, but they still refuse to go get a skin check because of “time”, (it’s a constant battle, believe me). So how do we raise awareness regarding skin cancer, and what can we do to help?

Dr. Ellen Marmur has an idea. Being a dual skin cancer survivor herself, she has started the campaign “Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!”TM:

the challenge – to raise awareness of skin cancer in partnership with the American Academy of Dermatology’s SPOT Skin Cancer ®;

the goal – to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa and raise $1 million.

She has gathered a team of skin cancer survivors and advocates for skin cancer prevention to climb with her and to raise this money. Mount Kilimanjaro sits an impressive 19, 341 feet above sea level on the border between Tanzania and Kenya. Unfortunately, it is under ecological threat from climate change. Dr. Marmur sees this campaign as an opportunity to raise awareness of behavioural changes necessary to prevent skin cancer, as well as the current climate changes that will not only affect the natural wonders of the Earth, but also human health (i.e. climate change, leading to thinning of the ozone layer, meaning less protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and therefore an increased risk of radiation-induced damage to skin cells creating skin cancers).

It is Dr. Marmur’s and the AAD’s intention that “Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!”TM will become an annual event in which the public can participate to raise money for skin cancer awareness and tell skin cancer to, “take a hike” (so to speak). Using social media, Dr. Marmur and her team are going to keep the world engaged throughout this grueling journey, and if the internet cooperates they also hope to upload videos from both the basecamp and the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

There you have it, one innovative idea to raise skin cancer awareness and one courageous group of skin cancer warriors. Campaigns like this are only the beginning of the long road to conquer skin cancer. Behavioural change (sun screen, sun protective clothing and positive sun habits), as well as regular skin checks at a dermatologist are some of the best things you can do to increase your chances of either not developing a skin cancer, or catching a skin cancer at an early enough stage to treat successfully. I hope you see why this cause is dear to their hearts and the hearts of many skin cancer survivors around the world.


If you chose to donate, your money will help to build shade structures throughout the country, increase public awareness of sun safety and skin cancer protection, as well as provide free skin cancer screenings throughout the country. Please make your tax-deductible donation here:

If you would like to participate with us in this undertaking and join the team:

As you join the Crowdrise campaign, your own personal page will auto-populate with an exact copy of the text from the main campaign page. You should customize your personal page to tell your own unique story about why you are taking part in Dr. Marmur’s efforts (e.g. you are a staff member who has had direct contact with skin cancer patients; you are a skin cancer survivor; you lost a family member to skin cancer; etc.)

Below are instructions to personalize your page:

1. To join the campaign as a fundraiser, create a free Crowdrise account
2. Navigate to the main campaign page (
3. Click on the grey “Fundraise for this campaign” button and join the team

If you would like information to send to all of your contacts, please email with “Skin Cancer, Take a Hike!” in the subject line.

~ From all of us at Marmur Medical and the American Academy of Dermatology, we thank you for your support!

Written by:
Margit Lai Wun Juhasz
Mount Sinai Medical Student