PHYSICIANS JOIN MELANOMA NETWORK OF CANADA TO URGE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT TO MAKE MELANOMA A PRIORITY

Advocates plead greater awareness efforts, tanning bed regulations and timely access to care and treatments

OAKVILLE, ON, May 30, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Today at Queen's Park, the Melanoma Network of Canada partnered with physicians to call on the Ontario government to make melanoma a priority.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is one of the fastest growing cancers in Canada. Ontario has the highest rates of melanoma in Canada with more than 50% of all melanoma cases diagnosed in Canada, well above Ontario's 39% share of the Canadian population.

At today's meeting, government attendees learned about the seriousness skin cancer - and melanoma in particular: its prevalence, its cost to individuals and families as well as the health system, and about research being done on new treatments.

In urging that the government make melanoma a priority, participants at today's meeting emphasized three actions for the government to take. The first is to increase public awareness programs, given that individuals can play a vital role in early detection of melanoma by conducting regular examinations of their own skin for the appearance of or changes to moles and other skin discolorations. With early detection, treatment outcomes for the disease increase considerably. The second action urged upon the government is to pass legislation to restrict tanning bed use.  The third ask is to ensure prompt access for melanoma patients to care and treatments that could benefit them.

"Treatment for metastatic melanoma is improving, but this remains a deadly disease with little hope of cure," says Dr. David Hogg, Director of the Melanoma Medical Oncology site Group at the University Health Network.  "To have a major impact on this disease, we need to raise public awareness of skin cancer and educate the public about the importance of skin self examination for detection of early disease at a curable stage.  We must also work together with members of our provincial Legislature to regulate the tanning industry in order to reduce exposure to sunbeds, which are man-made carcinogens."

"Being educated can save your life. If detected early, melanoma is treatable but if left unchecked it can spread quickly and once it does, it's often fatal," says Annette Cyr, Chair of the Melanoma Network of Canada. "We hope that the government will make melanoma a priority by helping raise awareness and by making new treatments available as soon as soon as possible when they are approved."

About Melanoma
Melanoma is a rare but deadly form of skin cancer. An estimated 5,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 920 will die from it. The survival rate for melanoma is high if it is detected early and unlike many cancers, melanoma is clearly visible on the skin. 90% of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light and sunlight, including tanning beds.

About the Melanoma Network Canada (MNC)
Melanoma Network Canada (MNC) is a patient-led organization dedicated to the prevention and elimination of melanoma. Established in 2009 by a small group of patients and caregivers, the MNC works in collaboration with medical professionals, health care agencies and other stakeholders to educate, advocate and fund for early diagnosis and effective treatment of melanoma, education, prevention and awareness programs, relevant and innovative research, support for patients and an improved quality of life for those living with melanoma.

SOURCE MELANOMA NETWORK OF CANADA

For further information:

Annette Cyr
Melanoma Network of Canada
T. 289-242-2010
acyr@melanomanetwork.ca 

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MELANOMA NETWORK OF CANADA

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