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OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to create Community Melanoma Registry to aid outreach, research

New registry will give melanoma survivors and their families the Opportunity to help fight the lethal disease

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is seeking melanoma survivors, their families and friends to join a new OHSU Community Melanoma Registry. It is open to anyone interested in attending community and education events and possibly participating in future melanoma research.

The registry is a secure, privacy-protected, confidential database. It is a resource to contact people in the future as participation opportunities arise. Those who join the registry can choose whether and how they want to participate, and can choose to leave the registry at any time.

Melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer. In 2014, over 76,000 people in the U.S. will learn they have melanoma, and the trend is increasing.

“It is a surprise to many people that Oregon has the fifth highest rate of new melanoma cases in the nation,” said Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., who is leader of the Knight Cancer Institute’s Melanoma Research Program and chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology. Melanoma is more common in men. For young people ages 15-29, it is the second most common type of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The good news is that if melanoma is caught at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent.”

The Knight Cancer Institute supported an effort in the 2013 Oregon Legislature to restrict children younger than 18 from using tanning devices in Oregon, unless proof of a physician exemption is provided. The registry is the next in a series of efforts OHSU will be undertaking to reduce melanoma deaths in the state.

Because melanoma’s primary location is on the skin, it provides a unique opportunity to identify and treat this cancer before it becomes life-threatening. “Our goal is for all Oregonians to have information on the risks and early signs of melanoma and be able to receive skilled care if there is a concern,” said Leachman.

“We plan to go after melanoma as aggressively as it comes after us, and make Oregon the place where melanoma meets its match,” Leachman said.

Visit the War on Melanoma website for more information or to join the registry.

OHSU will be participating in a 3-mile community fun walk on Saturday, May 31, in Wallace Park in Northwest Portland organized by AIM for the Cure Melanoma Walks. The event will feature OHSU’s Let’s Get Healthy! Interactive education and research exhibits. Dermatologists also will perform free “one spot” skin checks. Registration sign-up for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m.

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