MRF Blog

Gifts and Giving

December 27, 2011 | Categories: Research


A close relative is a two-time cancer survivor.  He was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer that is notorious for recurrence.  Fortunately the doctors caught it early and rounds of radiation and chemotherapy worked their magic on the tumor.  When he came back for a follow-up check after finishing therapy, they found a spot on his kidney.  He was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had to have that organ removed.  That was over a dozen years ago and he is still NED – no evidence of disease. 

Holiday Spirit

December 19, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories


The holidays can be challenging in many ways, and particularly when the previous year has brought the death of a loved one.  Often, when someone dies of melanoma, the family elects to have donations made to MRF in that person’s memory.  I am always moved by these decisions, that in the middle of a tragic event the people most affected by loss choose to use that event to help other people.

Public Servants

December 6, 2011 | Categories: Policy


Newscasters tell us that the approval rating for the US Congress is at an all-time low—under 10%.  We hear a lot about a “do-nothing” Congress, and have become jaded about the commitment and dedication of these, often, career politicians.

Taking a Chance on Hope

November 22, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories

His wife died of melanoma a few months ago and he was talking about hope.

I can’t claim to have known her well, but in my own encounters with her and by all accounts, she was a remarkable human being.  She was highly respected at work, a close friend to many, a loving wife and a doting mother of two young children. 

Making the World Go Round

October 24, 2011 | Categories: Research


They say that money makes the world go round.  That money talks.  Certainly in the research field, money is the key to progress. 

We can truly say that right now in melanoma research, money is the primary limiting factor impeding progress. 

The Gift of Time

October 23, 2011 | Categories: Research


The answers came back fairly quickly:  “Yes,” “Yes,” “Happy to participate,” “Glad to help,” 


We are forming a scientific steering committee to direct the research agenda around ocular melanoma and I had sent a request to about 20 researchers asking them to volunteer their time.  The positive responses reflect the dedication and commitment of an amazing group of doctors and scientists.

A Man and His Daughter: A Chance to Make a Great Catch

October 12, 2011 | Categories: Prevention

He was not what you would expect to see at an NFL game.  It wasn’t the way he was dressed.  After all, people put on the wackiest clothes for a game.  He had on the team shirt, was dressed in the team colors.  It was more the expression on his face—a look of deep concern, of worry.

What is Truth?

October 7, 2011 | Categories: Treatment


The call came, as they often do, at night.  This time it was a mother who has a teenage daughter battling melanoma.  The family had seen three or four different doctors, each of whom gave different advice on what treatment to pursue.  Now it was decision time, and they had to listen to one person’s advice and ignore that of three other people.  What to do?

The Power of Two

September 30, 2011 | Categories: Treatment


When a doctor tells a patient they have cancer, they take great pains to explain the situation.  The better docs will use lay-language and talk about treatment plans and next steps.  More often than not, however, it is a wasted conversation.  A patient hears “you have cancer” then everything else is a blur.  The physician might as well be reciting a Shakespearean sonnet in Swahili for all the good it does.

In Isolation

September 9, 2011 | Categories: Types of Melanoma

I have been thinking lately about how melanoma can isolate people. 

Any life changing event does this to some degree.  Have a baby, win the lottery, lose a job, lose a parent.  It all can isolate. Even though we seldom walk these paths alone, we are, nevertheless, irrevocably changed by the journey, and changed in ways that make us different from people around us.