The OHSU Community Melanoma Registry was launched by the Knight Cancer Institute at the end of May, and was called “War on Melanoma” registry, with more than 3,100 people already registered.
“One of the guiding principles is the idea that we want to bring together a very strong community of melanoma patients, family members and advocates — the idea is that this is our best army. The people who have had the disease, who care about preventing it, finding out how to best treat it, and educating people about it are our best army. Those are our warriors,” Dr. Sancy Leachman, director of the Knight Cancer Institute Melanoma Program and chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology said in a news release.
The event will include survivors, family members and friends with the objective of raising awareness to this deadly disease, but also to educate and elucidate on the ongoing research efforts. Moreover, melanoma has a strong genetic basis, which makes it even more pertinent for family members of melanoma patients to participate, since their risk of being diagnosed with the disease is higher than the average person.
Information and educational material will be handed to those who register, and while the registration is confidential, it can allow researchers a database for possible future studies on this malignancy.
“We know that if you diagnose a melanoma early, the chances of curing it are really good. If you diagnose a melanoma late, it’s life threatening. We could design a research project that would allow us to start to look at what caused people who have melanoma to delay the diagnosis. Then we would know how to attack those problems”, added Dr. Leachman.
Dr. Leachman will discuss the genetics of melanoma, and possible theories of why Oregon has the fifth highest rate of new melanoma cases in the country.
“It’s very odd that in such a rainy, cloudy climate we have such high melanoma rates,” she explained. “One of the things that we hope to understand better by studying the people in the registry is to help figure out why would Oregon has such high rates.”
The event will also feature a talk by Dr. Gerald Linette, associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo, discussing the latest updates on melanoma treatment and research, and a panel of three melanoma survivors who will talk about their experience with this type of cancer.