Celebrating Ten Years of Service and Support
Ten Years. It is hard to believe a decade has gone by since the Melanoma Network of Canada was founded – right in my home office with a couple of other dedicated souls who wanted to put melanoma on the radar. At the time of my diagnosis in 2001, there was little information available in Canada, certainly little no support services, and very little hope for effective treatment should the disease spread.
The past 10 years have been filled with many milestones of achievement and progress in harnessing this disease. When immunotherapies were introduced in 2012, a mere seven years ago, melanoma patients were the first to participate in their successful clinical trials. Today immunotherapies are used across cancer types, but the efficacy of these breakthrough treatments were first demonstrated in melanoma.
We finally had access to a few treatments that worked incredibly well for a good number of metastatic patients. Stan, Don, Peter, Mark, Caroline, Sue, Colleen – just to name a few incredible people – would likely not be with us without the advancements in treatment that have been made. Yet we know we have a long way to go before we have treatments that work for all, including the numerous rarer forms of melanoma.
At MNC, our goal from the start has always been to provide timely, accurate and understandable information and support for patients, families and health care professionals across Canada. We now provide the most in-depth and accurate resource materials in the country – something that did not exist a mere 10 years ago! Our patient support is second to none, with individual one-on-one navigation and support, peer support, support groups, cross-country information sessions, and counselling services soon to be added.
We also have worked diligently and effectively to improve access to drug therapies for patients and physicians, working with government and industry across the country. We have worked on each drug approval since our inception and are looking forward to improved clinical trials and therapy access. MNC is regarded as one of the top leaders in patient advocacy, working collaboratively with government and industry to improve treatment options and access for patients.
We take it seriously. Up to 80 to 90 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.In 2018, we launched the Sun Safety Council to bring together stakeholders interested in amplifying the need to improve our sun-safe behaviours and knowledge.
We have two great events planned for May. Watch out for our ‘You Missed a Spot’ campaign, focused on improving awareness of damage caused by UV radiation. Activations are planned for Toronto and Montreal.
Parkin DM, Mesher D, Sasieni P. Cancers attributable to solar (ultraviolet) radiation exposure in the UK in 2010. Br J Cancer 2011; 105:S66-S69.