Proclamations, March 22, 1985

Proclamation 5310 -- National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Week, 1985

March 22, 1985

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of all cancers and is increasing at a significant rate. Approximately 18,000 Americans will develop a primary melanoma and over 500,000 Americans will develop nonmelanoma skin cancer this year. Epidemiological studies show that the incidence of melanoma has doubled every decade since the 1930s and is now increasing at a faster rate than any other cancer, except lung cancer in women.

Melanoma has a mortality rate of 25 percent and causes 5,000 deaths per year, and nonmelanoma skin cancer causes another 2,000 deaths per year. The 1983 National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference on Precursors to Malignant Melanoma found that the incidence of melanoma and the number of deaths from melanoma are increasing in many areas of the world and found evidence that early recognition and surgical removal of melanoma make it a highly curable cancer.

Patients with increased risk of developing melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers can be identified, and early treatment of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers results in high cure rates.

Sun exposure is an undisputed cause of nonmelanoma skin cancer and is an important factor in the development of melanoma. The number of skin cancers can be reduced through sun protection measures such as the use of sunscreening lotions and simple changes in lifestyle. The American Academy of Dermatology and State and local dermatologic organizations are committed to heightening the awareness and understanding of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers among members of the general public and the health care community.

The first Melanoma and Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Program, a coordinated national voluntary effort of professional dermatological organizations to reduce the increasing incidence of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers and to better control such cancers, will be conducted in March 1985.

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 85, has designated the week of March 24, 1985, through March 30, 1985, as ``National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Week'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of March 24, 1985, through March 30, 1985, as National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Week, and I urge health care professionals and all other interested persons and groups to assist efforts to advance the prevention and detection of skin cancer.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 22nd day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:09 a.m., March 25, 1985]

Proclamation 5311 -- Cancer Control Month, 1985

March 22, 1985

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

The past year has witnessed steady, encouraging progress against cancer. The latest data show that 49 percent of all patients diagnosed with cancer survive five years or more. This compares with 48 percent last year and 46 percent the year before. And because of the lag time in collecting data, we believe the true five-year survival rate is better than 50 percent. For some of the major cancers, more than two-thirds of patients will survive beyond this five-year mark.

In addition, we are seeing steady gains in survival for patients with a number of specific cancers: melanoma, Hodgkin's disease, and cancers of the lung, colon, prostate, and testis. For children under age 15 who develop cancer, the five-year survival rate has risen to 60 percent, up from 53 percent last year.

This record of continuing, steady gains assures us that we can meet our national goal for the year 2000: to reduce the 1980 cancer death rate in this country by one-half.

This is a realistic and achievable goal, built on the deeper understanding of cancer that we have derived from our research over the past decade and a half. We now have evidence, for example, that an individual can reduce personal cancer risk by a number of lifestyle choices. Quitting smoking is the single most important step an individual can take to reduce cancer risk. There are also a number of choices we can make in our daily diets that may help to reduce cancer risk, such as increasing the amount of fiber-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, peas and beans, and whole-grain cereals. Another is to reduce the amount of fat in our diet.

Research designed to answer questions about ways to halt or prevent cancer is ongoing, including twenty-five studies concerning diet interventions. New community cancer programs have been formed to bring the latest in cancer care to patients in their own communities. A new computerized data base for physicians provides the latest information on cancer treatment. Trials of new therapies continue to seek better ways to help the cancer patient, and research to understand the nature of cancer at the cellular level continues to break new ground. We can look into the future with hope and optimism.

In 1938, the Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution (52 Stat. 148; 36 U.S.C. 150) requesting the President to issue an annual proclamation setting aside the month of April as ``Cancer Control Month.''

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of April 1985 as Cancer Control Month. I invite the Governors of the fifty States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all other areas under the United States flag, to issue similar proclamations. I also ask health care professionals, the communications industry, and all other interested persons and groups to reaffirm our Nation's continuing commitment to control cancer.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 22nd day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:10 a.m., March 25, 1985]