Department News

Study Finds Genetic Testing Motivates Behavior Changes in Families At Risk For Melanoma

A screenshot of the Science article on genetic testing for melanoma

A new study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) and collaborators at Northwestern University (NW) and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) investigated whether genetic testing would motivate people at risk of developing melanoma to alter their behavior in order to reduce their risk. The study was published in Genetics in Medicine. Read full story.

Can a broad early detection experiment succeed in improving melanoma outcomes?

A woman photographs a mole on a man's back.

Melanoma incidence is increasing more rapidly than any other preventable cancer in the U.S. Survival rates for localized melanoma are >95% but are considerably lower when there is regional or distant spread of disease. Hence, there is interest in revisiting screening strategies for early detection of melanoma. This article describes a study in Oregon, known as the “War on Melanoma,” that is testing the hypothesis that an early detection campaign will reduce melanoma mortality by almost half. The study is based on an earlier pilot project in northern Germany (“SCREEN”), where screening produced a 50% reduction in melanoma mortality at 5 years after the program.  

Read full article (Medpagetoday; ASCO).

Six OHSU Dermatology Faculty named "2019 Top Doctors" by Portland Monthly

Portrait photos of Drs. Sancy Leachman, Eric Simpson, Tracy Funk and Heather Onoday, F.N.P, Kim Sanders, P.A.-C., and Susan Tofte, F.N.P.

Congratulations to the OHSU Dermatology providers named "Top Doctors, Nurses and Physician Assistants of 2019":

  • Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Eric Simpson, M.D., M.C.R.
  • Tracy Funk, M.D.
  • Heather Onoday, F.N.P.
  • Kim Sanders, P.A.-C.
  • Susan Tofte, F.N.P.

Learn more.

Dr. Eric Simpson featured in New England Journal of Medicine for work on potentially groundbreaking eczema drug.

Dr. Eric Simpson examines a patient in a visit

Dr. Eric Simpson, Professor and Director of Clinical Research, was lead author on the newly published New England Journal of Medicine article for his work on an international Phase III trial for a potentially groundbreaking atopic dermatitis drug. 

“We now have a promising new option for patients whose quality of life was severely diminished by their disease,” said Eric Simpson, M.D., M.C.R., director of the clinical studies unit in OHSU’s dermatology department and lead author on the study. “Additional clinical trials are needed to explore whether long-term use of dupilumab is safe, but it represents a potential new approach for our patients who have suffered without good options for far too long.”

Read the full press release here.

Knight Cancer Institute recruits skin care experts in fight against melanoma

A hairdresser in a hair appointment

Oregonians enjoying spring weather may not know it, but they’re in the middle of a “war on melanoma.”

It was started by Oregon Health And Science University back in 2014 — mainly because Oregon has one of the worst rates of skin cancer in the nation.

On Saturday, the university and the Knight Cancer Institute hope to recruit a legion of new foot soldiers at the Portland Skincare Festival. Scientists want hair dressers, makeup artists, masseurs, electrologists, nail technicians and tattoo artists — anyone whose job involves looking at skin — to tell their clients to see a doctor, when they see a suspicious blemish in the course of work.

Read the full article (OPB)

8 sunscreen tips from an expert at OHSU

An image of a summer pool scene, with the Oregonian logo transposed on top.

"The season also signals the return of tanks, shorts and sandals as everyday attire. As liberating as all of these things are, they also increase our vulnerability to sunburns. Of course, anyone who's stared at a shelf full of sunscreens at Fred Meyer or Target knows shopping for the stuff can be a baffling ordeal.

That's why The Oregonian/OregonLive reached out to Dr. Sancy Leachman, chairwoman and professor at Oregon Health and Science University's Department of Dermatology. "

Read full article (Oregonian).

KATU reporter's skin cancer story: 'Early detection saves lives, it probably saved mine'

Jackie Labrecque of KATU after she had a skin cancer removed.

PORTLAND, Ore. — 

I felt like Frankenstein with a bulging arm, all sewn up. My husband — relieved it was over — quickly snapped a picture of my unsure smile, and I sent it to my worried parents, siblings, and best friend, Angela, with the caption, “I’m going to have a big scar!”

She responded, “It’s a beautiful scar, I get to keep you longer.”

Gulp.

She’s right. My new cut, which would soon scar over, is my daily reminder of how lucky I am. It’s a two-inch line down my arm — my new line of gratitude — because what was there, was melanoma.

Read full article (KATU)

A selfie could save your life

MoleMapper™ iPhone application logo

Mole mapping, the process of charting your moles through regular skin checks, has just gotten easier—and potentially more reliable—thanks to MoleMapper. The app, which is free and available on iTunes, allows users to map, measure and monitor moles with the help of an iPhone camera and digitally share these images with a doctor.

“Being vigilant about your moles – the size, shape, color, and patterns—is the best way to catch melanoma when it's most treatable and a cure is likely,” says Sancy Leachman, MD, Ph.D., director of the melanoma research program at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland.

Read full article (Popular Science).