The Scarlet Lawrence Akins Foundation was established to raise awareness and help find cure for deadly disease.
The Scarlet Lawrence Akins Foundation was started in Memphis, TN in August 2006 to handle the many contributions that were received after her death. The foundation was started by her parents, Vann & Cheryl Moore, Steve & Vicki Lawrence and her husband, Jody Akins. Scarlet wanted any memorials sent to Northwest Community College, where she was an teacher, Kappa Alpha Theta, her college sorority and The Church Health Center, which provides health care for the under-insured. We will continue to support these organizations.
Since that time the SLA Foundation was formed our mission has broaden to include helping to find a cure for Melanoma, education and support those suffering from this terrible cancer. Also we want to warn others of the dangers of this Melanoma and to provide funds to researchers to help find a cure. The Scarlet Lawrence Akins Foundation was established with the goal of raising public awareness of this potentially deadly cancer and contributing funds to help researchers find a cure for those diagnosed with this disease.
There are three types of skin cancer (Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Malignant Melanoma) with Melanoma being the most deadly of the three. Since there is no cure for Melanoma in its later stages, the best defense against this killer is to prevent it. The American Academy of Dermatologists says a few simple rules can go a long way in cutting the risk.
- Avoid direct sunlight from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
- When you are outdoors, wear a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 or higher.
- Wear sunglasses that provide 100% protection from UV rays.
- Visit a dermatologist if you have an unusual mole, scaley patch or a sore that doesn't heal. If you have a family history of skin cancer, visit your dermatologist at least once a year.
- Avoid tanning beds.
According to the American Cancer Society:
- Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States today, with approximately 1.3 million new cases every year. 500 new cases will occur in Mississippi in 2003.
- One in five people in the United States will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime. This number jumps to one in three in the Sunbelt states.
- Melanoma (the rarest but most deadly of skin cancers) is a cancer of younger people, especially adolescents and young adults.
- Melanoma is increasing at a rate of nearly 3% a year, faster than any other form of cancer. This increase is widely considered related to overexposure to the sun's harmful rays prior to the age of 18.
The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2003:
- 1,334,100 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States, including 14,900 in Mississippi.
- 556,500 cancer deaths will occur in the United States, including 6,200 in Mississippi.
- Mississippi ranks 5th highest overall in cancer mortality rates among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists:
- More than 80% of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma
- Melanoma can arise at any age but most commonly occurs after puberty.
- Melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in men and the seventh most common in women.
- When melanoma is detected at its early stage, surgical removal cures the disease in most cases. If the disease has spread to lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 30-40%. If the disease has spread to distant organs (liver, bones, brain, etc.) the 5-year survival rate is 12%.
- Genetic factors are the most important of the known risk factors, including the familial tendency to develop melanoma, prominent moles, and atypical moles.
- Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is believed to be a contributing factor to some cases of melanoma; short periods of intense exposure, such as sunbathing is associated with a 2-fold increase in melanoma risk.