Save Your Skin Foundation

Save Your Skin Foundation

February 19, 2015 11:00 ET

Melanoma No Longer a Death Sentence-There is Hope for Survivorship

Save Your Skin Foundation Unveils the I'm Living Proof Canadian Melanoma Survivorship Program

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 19, 2015) - 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 was often considered terminal. When the Save Your Skin Foundation was created in 2006 the mission was simple: to provide a source of information and hope 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 back 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. Today's reality is so different. Not only are more people alive, they are actually living longer," said Kathy Barnard, Save Your Skin Foundation President and Founder. 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 It used to be very difficult to be a physician treating patients who were living on borrowed time with only outdated treatment options to offer."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 even 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 that hope to patients, regardless of where they are at in the disease. The Save Your Skin Foundation will launch the initiative through a video, a microsite, and awareness campaigns on social media. The program will provide support, resources, and a network for survivors. "I'm Living Proof is a dream come true for anyone who has ever been told to 'go home and get your affairs in order' because the odds are against you," says Kathy Barnard, an 11-year survivor of melanoma. "This program is about hope and the knowledge that there are others out there who have been diagnosed with advanced melanoma and who are living their lives, and for those of us who are survivors, we are living proof of that."

The melanoma survivorship video will be launched on February 20th in Whistler, B.C., at the 9th Canadian Melanoma Conference. Kathy Barnard will be opening the conference by addressing Canadian physicians on the vision for survivorship in Canada. This milestone follows 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.

About Melanoma in Canada

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 6,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 1,050 will die from it. Melanoma is responsible for 70 percent of deaths associated with skin cancer.

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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