Skin cancer advocates commend decision by Ontario and Saskatchewan governments to provide new melanoma treatment to patients

Groups come together to call on all other provinces to provide Yervoy to Canadians with deadly skin cancer

VANCOUVER, Sept. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Canadian skin cancer advocates unanimously applaud the governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan for recognizing the need for effective treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma. Both provinces have agreed to provide and fund the new treatment Yervoy for patients living with the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Joining the Save Your Skin Foundation in thanking and congratulating Ontario and Saskatchewan are the Alberta Society of Melanoma, The Canadian Dermatology Association, the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance. They have also come together to urge the other eight provinces to act fast so all Canadian patients can benefit as soon as possible.

"This is the best news the melanoma community has received in years and we hope the other provinces also act as quickly as possible so patients can get the prompt access to Yervoy they need," said Kathy Barnard, founder of Save Your Skin Foundation and a melanoma patient herself. "There has been a crucial need for new treatments for metastatic melanoma for many years and now that new ones have been developed it is imperative that governments make them available to patients."

"Our job is to make sure that all melanoma patients across Canada have access to the treatments they need no matter where they live. We represent patients across Canada and will do whatever it takes to ensure that no patient is left without treatment" said Barnard.

The melanoma medical community also welcomes the news. "I am very pleased that provinces are moving quickly to make Yervoy accessible for patients with metastatic melanoma. It gives us a treatment option that could provide real, life-extending help," said Dr. Michael Smylie, a medical oncologist at the University of Alberta, Cross Cancer Institute, specializing in melanoma. "I hope my colleagues in other provinces will also be able to provide Yervoy right away as a government-funded option to patients without delay."

Kathy Barnard, founder of the Save Your Skin Foundation will be speaking at the Skin Patient Alliance "Skin Matters" conference in Toronto Friday, October 12. For details visit www.saveyourskin.ca.

About Melanoma in Canada
Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with melanoma, with the incidence of the disease increasing faster than that of any other cancer. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. One in 74 men and 1 in 90 women are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime; 1 in 284 men and 1 in 486 women will die of it. Melanoma is clearly visible on the skin, and 90 per cent of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light, including tanning beds.

About the Save Your Skin Foundation
The Save Your Skin Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit foundation. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on: raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer - especially melanoma. Donations go towards providing critical and timely treatments, as well as ongoing education, research, and awareness initiatives.

About the Alberta Society of Melanoma
The Alberta Society of Melanoma was founded in 1995 by dermatologist Dr. T.G. Salopek and a group of concerned patients and their families. The Alberta Society of Melanoma strives to better educate the general public about melanoma and to provide a support network for patients with melanoma. 

About the Canadian Dermatology Association
The Canadian Dermatology Association, founded in 1925, represents Canadian dermatologists. The association strives to provide easy access to the largest, most reliable source of medical knowledge on dermatology. CDA exists to advance the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the care of the skin, hair and nails; provide continuing professional development for its members; support and advance patient care; provide public education on sun protection and other aspects of skin health; and promote a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. By doing so, CDA informs and empowers both medical professionals and the Canadian public.

About the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation
Skin cancer is preventable! Through education, awareness, advocacy and research, the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation is dedicated to the reduction of the occurrence of skin cancer in Canada. Our vision is a world without skin cancer. Champions of the Foundation support our national Sun Safe School Education Program and skin cancer awareness campaign.

About the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance
Founded in 2007, The Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA) is a by patients-for-patients, resource and community for all skin patients living with a skin conditions and disorders.  As a national umbrella organization for Canadian not-for-profit patient groups and organizations that deal with skin conditions and diseases, the CSPA is an important hub of skin-health-related information in Canada. As an advocate for awareness, education, research and access to appropriate care, the CSPA represents the voice of the millions of skin patients and their families. 

SOURCE: Save Your Skin Foundation

For further information:

Media Contacts:

Kelly Scott
Media Liaison, Save Your Skin Foundation
kscott@karranfinlaymarketing.com
604-734-4223

Tanny Nadon
Director, Alberta Society of Melanoma
780-464-1551

Jennifer Scott
Communications & Programs Office, The Canadian Dermatology Association
613-738-1748

Leona Yez
Executive Director, The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation
780-951-5051

Helen Crawford
Media Liaison, Canadian Skin Patient Alliance
1-877-505-2772


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