OHSU Knight Cancer Institute to create Community Melanoma Registry to aid outreach, research

05/13/14  Portland, Ore.

New registry will give melanoma survivors and their families the Opportunity to help fight the lethal disease

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is seeking melanoma survivors, their families and friends to join a new OHSU Community Melanoma Registry. It is open to anyone interested in attending community and education events and possibly participating in future melanoma research.

The registry is a secure, privacy-protected, confidential database. It is a resource to contact people in the future as participation opportunities arise. Those who join the registry can choose whether and how they want to participate, and can choose to leave the registry at any time.

Melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer. In 2014, over 76,000 people in the U.S. will learn they have melanoma, and the trend is increasing.

“It is a surprise to many people that Oregon has the fifth highest rate of new melanoma cases in the nation,” said Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., who is leader of the Knight Cancer Institute’s Melanoma Research Program and chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology. Melanoma is more common in men. For young people ages 15-29, it is the second most common type of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The good news is that if melanoma is caught at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent.”

The Knight Cancer Institute supported an effort in the 2013 Oregon Legislature to restrict children younger than 18 from using tanning devices in Oregon, unless proof of a physician exemption is provided. The registry is the next in a series of efforts OHSU will be undertaking to reduce melanoma deaths in the state.

Because melanoma’s primary location is on the skin, it provides a unique opportunity to identify and treat this cancer before it becomes life-threatening. “Our goal is for all Oregonians to have information on the risks and early signs of melanoma and be able to receive skilled care if there is a concern,” said Leachman.

“We plan to go after melanoma as aggressively as it comes after us, and make Oregon the place where melanoma meets its match,” Leachman said.

Visit the War on Melanoma website for more information or to join the registry.

OHSU will be participating in a 3-mile community fun walk on Saturday, May 31, in Wallace Park in Northwest Portland organized by AIM for the Cure Melanoma Walks. The event will feature OHSU’s Let’s Get Healthy! Interactive education and research exhibits. Dermatologists also will perform free “one spot” skin checks. Registration sign-up for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m.

About the Knight Cancer Institute

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of personalized cancer medicine. The institute’s director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy cells. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and ushered in a new generation of targeted cancer therapies. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle -- an honor earned only by the nation’s top cancer centers. It offers the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials. The institute continues to build upon its scientific and clinical leadership with both public support and private philanthropy. Most recently, the institute’s plans to advance the early detection of cancer inspired Nike Chairman Phil Knight and his wife Penny to pledge a $500 million donation to the Knight Cancer Institute if OHSU raises an additional $500 million as part of a two-year fundraising campaign. This pledge follows a transformative $100 million gift from Nike Chairman Phil Knight and his wife Penny in 2008.

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only public academic health and research university. As one of Oregon's largest employers with more than 14,000 employees, OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of Oregon and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.