MRF Blog

Mother and Child

June 16, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

I just got off the phone with a young woman I met earlier this year who is battling Stage IV melanoma.  During the call she told me, “I have a 2 year old and I worry that I won’t live long enough for my child to remember me.”

Competition and Collaboration

June 1, 2011 | Categories: Research

In their most honest moments, the best and brightest scientific researchers agree that competition is good.  When researchers have to apply for limited funds they sharpen their thinking and put their best science forward.  This is why MRF has, from the beginning of our grant program, engaged in a competitive application process.  Researchers who seek funding must present a proposal that is reviewed by experts in the particular area being addressed by that proposal.  Only about one request in six is funded, and this competition for funds has always resulted in very, very

Alphabet Soup

May 16, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

I had dinner last night with two melanoma researchers.  One is an M.D.; the other has an M.D and a Ph.D.  The discussion quickly moved to new studies and treatments for melanoma, and the conversation became heavily peppered with acronyms.  BRAF, NRAS, c-KIT, PTEN, AKT, m-TOR. 

Watchwords

May 14, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories, Treatment

Today’s melanoma symposium in Seattle featured a panel of patients telling their stories.    Some have been fighting melanoma for years.  One was recently diagnosed.  They spoke of their treatments - surgeries, radiation, various drugs – and their side effects.

Angels Unaware

May 10, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories

In some ways cancer patients are just people.  Some are mean, some are nice.  Some are caring, some are indifferent.  Having said that, cancer, like most major sources of stress, tends to amplify these characteristics. 

Last night I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of those people who persists in being giving, warm, and generous despite—or because of—their cancer.

Profiles in Courage

April 30, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories

After two days of board meetings and tons of other activities I was exhausted.  But I ran to the airport and jumped on an 8:15 flight last night, arriving in St. Louis just before 10:00.  A shuttle bus to the car rental place, then an hour and a half drive to check in to the Sleepy Inn, just around midnight.  I had to get up at 6:00 so I could arrive at 7:00 at the site of a run/walk event.

Shying Away From Sun Increases Melanoma Risk

April 22, 2011 | Categories: Causes, Prevention

That is the headline in an article by Dr. John Briffa, a UK physician.  Citing a 2008 article in the British Medical Journal, the author claims that melanoma incidence is less in areas where people have greater sun exposure.  From this he concludes that UV radiation offers a protective effect against melanoma.

Profile in Courage

April 14, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories

I won’t give her name here, but her story is worth telling.  She was a young woman when she found an odd mole on her back.  Simple surgery, but the path report came back as melanoma.  She didn’t know then that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but she learned quickly.  Her doctor, though, didn’t believe the path report.  He had another report done and then told her it was nothing to worry about.  She moved on with her life and a couple of years later m

EPIC FAIL

April 5, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

To say that a patient failed a treatment is to use fairly common jargon in describing a situation in which the patient is no longer benefitting from that treatment.  That doesn’t mean it is the right thing to say, however….

Where the Sun Don't Shine

April 5, 2011 | Categories: Causes

About 2/3 of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV radiation.  Often the damage is done in the days of our youth, and only manifested later in life.  So if people were very careful about their exposure to UV radiation we would see the death rate from melanoma drop by thousands of people each year.

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