Save Your Skin Foundation

Save Your Skin Foundation

June 05, 2015 13:45 ET

CORRECTION FROM SOURCE: Save Your Skin Foundation Celebrates National Cancer Survivors Day with the Launch of New Survivorship Program

The I'm Living Proof National Melanoma Survivorship Program is First of Its Kind in Canada

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - June 4, 2015) - A correction from source has been issued for the release disseminated today at 10 AM ET. The number of Canadians diagnosed with melanoma in 2014 was listed as 3,500. The correct amount is 6,500. The complete and corrected release follows:

On June 7, the Save Your Skin Foundation will celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day with the launch of their I'm Living Proof National Melanoma Survivorship Program - the first of its kind in Canada.

One of the new words in the melanoma vocabulary is survivorship. It's a word that only ten years ago was hardly achievable but today is used more and more with a disease that is often considered terminal. When the Save Your Skin Foundation was created in 2006 the mission was simple: to provide a source of information and support for patients. Today that mission has been expanded and a new chapter has been added - survivorship - through an initiative called I'm Living Proof.

"When I was diagnosed in 2003, the first thing I looked for was a sign of hope. For me, hope meant finding other survivors, but I couldn't find a single person," explained Kathy Barnard, Save Your Skin Foundation President and Founder. "Today's reality is very different. Today, there is real hope for melanoma survivorship." Dr. Michael Smylie, an oncologist specializing in melanoma at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and member of the Save Your Skin Foundation Medical Advisory Committee, explained: "Melanoma is not what it once was. It used to be very difficult to be a physician treating patients who were living on borrowed time with only out dated treatment options to offer." Smylie continued by saying: "Today, the melanoma landscape looks very different thanks to the introduction of new treatments in recent years. What's even more optimistic is that there are more promising treatments on the way. This is revolutionary for a cancer for which, not long ago, there was no hope."

I'm Living Proof's purpose is to give hope to patients, regardless of where they are at with the disease. The comprehensive initiative includes a first ever melanoma survivorship video, a website, and an integrated awareness campaign on social media. The program provides support, resources, and a network for survivors to connect with one another.

The ASCO 2015 (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Annual Meeting wrapped up this week with attendees reporting some of the top buzz words to be 'melanoma' and 'survivorship'. "This is a new era in cancer," says Barnard, who attends ASCO's annual meeting every year. "Everyone was talking about new treatments, melanoma and survivorship - to the point where ASCO has now announced they will hold an Inaugural Cancer Survivorship Symposium: Advancing Care and Research, in January 2016."

The I'm Living Proof survivorship video was launched as a 'sneak peak reveal' on February 20th in Whistler, B.C., at the 9th Canadian Melanoma Conference, where Kathy Barnard opened the conference by addressing Canadian physicians on the vision for survivorship in Canada. This milestone followed on the heels of the first-ever Save Your Skin Foundation Canadian melanoma survivorship meeting that took place late last year with survivors from across Canada who came together in two Canadian cities.

For more information, visit imlivingproof.ca or saveyourskin.ca.

About Melanoma in Canada

Incidence rates of melanoma have increased in both men and women over the past several decades, with recent increases of 2.3% per year in men between 2001 and 2010, and 2.9% per year among women between 2001 and 2010. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation through exposure to sunlight, tanning beds and sun lamps appears to be a major risk factor for melanoma.

In its late stages, the average life expectancy for melanoma is just six months, with a one-year survival rate of only 25 percent, making metastatic melanoma one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. An estimated 6,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year (up from 6,500 in 2014).

Melanoma is also one of the top three most commonly diagnosed cancers in young adults aged 15-29.

About the Save Your Skin Foundation

The Save Your Skin Foundation is a national not-for profit organization dedicated to the areas of skin cancer and skin disease with a focus on education and awareness, supporting research and ensuring equal and timely access to treatment for all Canadians. Please visit saveyourskin.ca for more information.

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