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MELANOMA MONDAY
All Year

Skin cancer is one of the most common form of all cancers. Though accounting for less than 5% of all skin cancers, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer responsible for the majority of skin cancer attributed deaths.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 80,000 new melanomas diagnosed in 2013 with incidence rates on the rise for the last 30 years. This year, almost 9,000 people are expected to die of melanoma. It is well established that early detection and treatment of melanoma are essential for the best outcome.


Melanoma Awareness Banner

Just because the month of May is coming to a close, doesn’t mean you can forget about your skin. The summer is just ramping up! Prepare yourself for year-long protection with this handy checklist!

  • Make appointment for annual skin check with dermatologist – do it TODAY.
    • Check your insurance coverage for a provider and/or find one here: www.aad.org
    • Put in a recurring reminder in your e-calendar to go each May

  • Print a body map and do your self-check for the month
  • Buy at least 4-5 new sunscreens so you will never be caught without it. (Throw old ones out – efficacy can wane over time.)
    • Put one in your bathroom for application in the morning
    • Put one by the door
    • Put one in your car
    • Put one in your purse/bag

  • Keep a hat in your car along with a light-weight cotton shirt
    • Late to soccer practice with the kids? You are covered!

And remember the best way to prevent melanoma is to … .

Know The Facts
Know Your Risk
Know Your Skin
Know How to Protect Yourself
With these steps, you can reduce, prevent and detect melanoma early.




MELANOMA MONDAY
Know How to Protect Yourself

Skin cancer is one of the most common form of all cancers. Though accounting for less than 5% of all skin cancers, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer responsible for the majority of skin cancer attributed deaths.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 80,000 new melanomas diagnosed in 2013 with incidence rates on the rise for the last 30 years. This year, almost 9,000 people are expected to die of melanoma. It is well established that early detection and treatment of melanoma are essential for the best outcome.


Melanoma Awareness Banner

This is the last Melanoma Monday of May - Melanoma Awareness Month. In the previous weeks, we have reviewed what melanoma is; how to determine your risk; how to get to know your skin and do self-checks and now, finally we are going to give you some quick tips on how to protect yourself! UV exposure is of the most common reasons that people get melanoma. Luckily, it is also the easiest to control. It just takes some knowledge and a few new habits called “sun-smarts”.

Make a commitment to be sun-smart and also pass these important habits on to your friends, family and children!

  • Apply sunscreen before you go into the sun. Chemical sunscreens need time to be absorbed into the skin to work. So they require a head start of about 20 minutes.
  • Don’t have 20 minutes? Use zinc oxide if you need immediate sun protection. Both zinc and titanium dioxide are minerals that block the sun’s UV rays, so they work faster than chemical sunscreen ingredients, which must be absorbed to work.
  • Put it on first. It is best to get it right on your clean, dry skin – you can add a moisturizer after if needed.
  • Lay it on thick. Use a tablespoon of sunscreen on your face and about two ounces for your body. Unless you slather on a thick layer, you’re probably just getting an SPF 10 out of your SPF 30.
  • Sprays go on thin. Do one coat and then a second coat after it is dry to be sure you have enough layered on. It’s OK to use more than you think you should.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes. Many sunscreens become ineffective when exposed to sunlight for extended amounts of time. Ironic, isn’t it? That means it simply stops working after about 90 minutes, like mouthwash. So reapply often. And of course, reapply sunscreen as soon as you get done swimming, toweling off, or sweating heavily.
  • Use sunscreen daily and year round. The majority of sun exposure is incidental, meaning you get it walking to your house or through your office or car window. In addition, did you know that clouds allow up to 80% of UV rays through? And snow reflects OVER 5 TIMES the amount of harmful UV as dry beach sand. Get in the habit of using an SPF 30+, broad-spectrum (covers UVA/UVB) lotion on all the exposed areas of your skin, including on your lips, the tips of your ears, and the back of your hands and neck – EVERY DAY. EVERY SEASON.
  • If possible, avoid midday sun. Between 10 am to 4 pm is when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Schedule outdoor activities before 10 am or after 4 pm.
  • Wear protective clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirts and long pants that are tightly woven or photo-protective.
  • Don’t forget your eyes. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays are important to protect your eyes which are also susceptible to melanoma.
  • Avoid tanning beds. This should be a no-brainer, but people still think this is a safe way to tan. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SAFE TAN! It is well-established by the World Health Organization that there is a direct link with tanning beds and melanoma. Opt for a spray tan, gradual tan lotion or better yet … let your natural glow shine!
Know The Facts
Know Your Risk
Know Your Skin
Know How to Protect Yourself
With these steps, you can reduce, prevent and detect melanoma early.


MELANOMA MONDAY
Know Your Skin

Skin cancer is one of the most common form of all cancers. Though accounting for less than 5% of all skin cancers, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer responsible for the majority of skin cancer attributed deaths.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 80,000 new melanomas diagnosed in 2013 with incidence rates on the rise for the last 30 years. This year, almost 9,000 people are expected to die of melanoma. It is well established that early detection and treatment of melanoma are essential for the best outcome.


Melanoma Awareness Banner

Did you know that melanoma is one of the easiest cancers to prevent? But prevention begins with knowing your risk and taking steps to reduce that risk. Here are a few tips on knowing and reducing your risk for melanoma.

Know Your Skin

Knowing your skin is one of the best way to spot danagerous changes early and get them checked. When found and treated in the early stages, melanoma is up to 95% curable. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends doing a monthly skin check using a body map or keeping a journal of moles with description and location. Step-by step instructions and a body map can be found BY CLICKING HERE.

In addition, it is important to have a thorough skin check by a dermatologist once a year or sooner if you notice any of the following:

  • Remember your ABCDE’s for existing moles: if you have a mole that has changed in size or color, or has started to bleed and won’t heal; or
  • A mole that is new and doesn’t look like any other moles you have (the “Ugly Duckling”)

Melanoma is one of the easiest cancers to screen for because it is on the surface of your skin. Make the commitment to check your skin today and make your appointment for your annual skin check. Go every May as a great way to recognize Melanona Awareness month.

Know The Facts
Know Your Risk
Know Your Skin
With these steps you can reduce, prevent and detect melanoma early.



Not many of us can look at a genetic code and be inspired to create artwork from it. For most people a DNA sequence looks like a jumble of letters, wavelengths and bright colors. Max Nanis, however, is not “most people.” Max has married his artistic and scientific backgrounds into a project that he is calling the “Sanger Series.” His series focuses on using a hand-crafted algorithm to digitally display gene sequences in a 2-dimensional format. During his undergraduate studies Max focused on Computational Biology and Sculpture which helps to explain the unique approach and subject matter of his artwork. With a primary interest in structural biology, and a lifetime recollection of continuously building and creating, anyone could see this project evolving in Max’s mind from a mile away.

One of the first genes that Max transformed into a 2-D model was the BRCA2 gene. BRCA2 is a tumor suppressor gene located on chromosome 13.  When mutated the BRCA2 (BR for breast, CA for cancer) gene is one of the genes responsible for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with Max about his artwork and get an insight into the mind of a creative scientist:

image

NATALIE (MYRIAD GENETIC LABORATORIES): What made you choose the BRCA2 gene as the first in your series?

MAX NANIS: BRCA2 wasn’t actually the first gene I’ve worked with in the series. I originally played with a range of Hox genes (HOXD11 in particular). Those previous works were primarily individual pieces that I spent a great deal of time working with, investigating and manually iterating through their potential form variations. Hox genes are great because they’re so intriguing to non-scientists. I learned a great deal exploring the placement and disruption of forms using a programmed machining technique to alter the order and placement of the Hox representation just as a mutation would. My interest for BRCA2 emerged out of Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.

 

N: Were you always this interested in science or is this gene artwork your first step into the hybrid world of science and art?

MN: The scientific method has always been an integral part of my life. I’m currently at The Scripps Research Institute with the Su Lab investigating crowd based collection of genomic information (as well as many other things). In addition, I’ve been highly involved in the 3-dimensional representation of proteins at the Molecular Graphics Lab and the PDB. Each scientific field opens a floodgate of potential concepts, knowledge sources, and readily available data repositories for visualization. To me, science is the art of inquiry and this hybrid world on the elegant appreciation for knowledge acquisition and proper representation of it is a beautiful landscape to be positioned in. 

 

N: What other projects have you done in the past that have influenced your decisions on the type of medium and style to use for your works?

MN: I’ve really enjoyed working with ubiquitin, proteasomes, and ice structuring proteins. Aside from biological influences, I do all of my work digitally. This procedural, iterative, self-documenting and mechanical nature is really intriguing to me which comes out in a lot of my ideas. Creating a narrative through a foreign language and unfamiliar programming technique is a very challenging problem. Mediums that complement or contradict the biological processes I’m thinking of are always the most captivating.

 

N: How did you first learn about Fredrick Sanger and what about him struck a chord with you?

MN: Frederick Sanger is a household name to anyone involved with chemistry or nucleic acid sequencing. The fluorescent emission from Sanger sequencing is what really inspired the series. It’s truly beautiful.

 

N: What is the overall message you wish to give to people through the Sanger Series?

MN: The message is for the viewer to conceive. I like to provide ideas of mutational defects or great variances in expression levels to provide a relationship to the phenotypic expression of the gene. Viewers are being presented with a visually quantifiable surface where the patterns and forms of the drawings attempt to share the sequential information stored. I’d like to force a viewer to question the purpose of the lines as an attempt to understand the importance of a single base. People have a very difficult time accepting the fragility of their own existence.

 

N: How long did it take you to develop the algorithm for this series?

MN: The original version was composed of some initial drawings and sketches that I had made in my head over the course of a few weeks. The initial iterations of the code were developed primarily to produce CAD files for using a 3D mill in python which I completed over the course of a few days. The original codebase has since developed into a far more complex set of tools for me to leverage and customize. I work primarily in javascript, it allows me to quickly iterate between versions and easily export SVG files so I can leverage milling tools in addition to traditional printing techniques.

 

N: Who/what is the biggest inspiration for your artwork?

MN: My biggest inspirations are the complex mechanisms that occur in the natural world. I’m fascinated by the detrimental effects of certain mutations and the common perception of these genetic events. I’m certainly inspired by David Goodsell, Julian Voss-Andreae, Dadamaino, Sol LeWitt and countless others but all artists’ work pale in comparison to inspiration I get from the beauty within the mechanistic complexity of a…sunflower, for example…

 

N: Since this is a series can you say what the other genes are in the pipeline and are you planning to focus solely on hereditary cancer-related genes?

MN: I’m always looking for new genes to explore. I’ve recently been interested in SRY. It’s really hard because genes are always directly associated with what they encode. This isn’t necessarily “bad,” I just don’t want to visually mirror a gene — that’s boring. I like to explore genes that are easy to overlook as they can tell the most interesting stories.

 

N: Are there any gallery shows in the works? Where can people see your art in person?

MN: I’m currently working on a piece for the Smithsonian that will be at the Natural History Museum for their upcoming genome exhibit in June which has been occupying most of my time. There are other projects in the works for after that but nothing to disclose details on at the moment. All of my current work is at my private studio in downtown San Diego. However, people can currently see the Sanger Series at Yonder biology located in Carlsbad, CA — they’re an awesome company that I work with that have a great space for people to check out and enjoy everything out on display. They also have prints available to order online.

 

You can view all of Max’s artwork and order prints on his website at http://www.maxnanis.com



MELANOMA MONDAY
Know Your Risk

Skin cancer is one of the most common form of all cancers. Though accounting for less than 5% of all skin cancers, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer responsible for the majority of skin cancer attributed deaths.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 80,000 new melanomas diagnosed in 2013 with incidence rates on the rise for the last 30 years. This year, almost 9,000 people are expected to die of melanoma. It is well established that early detection and treatment of melanoma are essential for the best outcome.


Melanoma Awareness Banner

Did you know that melanoma is one of the easiest cancers to prevent? But prevention begins with knowing your risk and taking steps to reduce that risk. Here are a few tips on knowing and reducing your risk for melanoma.

Skin Type

Individuals with fair skin, blue or green eyes, and red or blond hair (skin type I) are at higher risk for melanoma due to how their skin reacts to UV exposure. This comes from early research done by Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, a Harvard Medical School dermatologist. He developed a scale in which he characterized six skin types based on how they reacted to UV exposure. See the chart below to know which skin type you have. This scale is widely used by dermatologists today.

Fitzpatrick Classification

The higher risk skin types are I – III. People with skin types IV through VI are less likely to get melanoma, however, when they do, it is typically very aggressive. That is why everyone, regardless of skin type, should take precautions to protect themselves from UV exposure.

Family History and Genetics

Another factor in developing melanoma is family history. If you have a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) with melanoma you are two to three times more likely to develop the disease than the general population. If you have many first-degree family members with melanoma, your risk of developing increases to 30 - 70 times higher. Approximately 10% of individuals with melanoma have a family history of the disease.

Specific gene mutations pass along a genetic susceptibility to melanoma. If a parent has this mutation, a child will have a 50% chance of inheriting it. Gene mutations have been found in 10% to 40% of families with a high rate of melanoma. Many people who inherit this genetic susceptibility, however, never develop melanoma.

Individuals with these gene mutations that have 50+ common moles (small growths on the skin that are usually pink, tan or brown and have a distinct edge) or five atypical moles have what is called dysplastic nevus syndrome. When this syndrome is inherited and there is a family history of melanoma, people are said to have Familial Multiple Mole and Melanoma or FAMM. People with FAMM have a very high risk of melanoma.

UV Radiation Exposure

UV radiation exposure is the most frequent and the most preventable risk factor for developing melanoma. Whether it is from the sun or indoor tanning beds, it is well-established that this is the greatest environmental factor for developing melanoma. Although one or more severe, blistering sunburns during childhood increase your risk, so does ongoing exposure during your lifetime. One bad sunburn before the age of 16 can actually double your lifetime risk of melanoma. Living and/or working in sunny climates or at high altitudes adds to the risk. The amount of radiation produced by a tanning bed during indoor tanning is similar to the sun and, in some cases, might be stronger. Studies have found a 75% increase in the risk of melanoma in individuals who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning. Even occasional use of tanning beds can triple a person’s risk.

Other Risk Factors

Other risk factors for melanoma include a weakened or suppressed immune system and contact with cancer-causing chemicals. Individuals can have a weak immune system because of having a different type of cancer, the AIDS virus or an organ transplant. Through work, they can come into contact with cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic, coal tar, creosote, pitch or radium.

Know The Facts

Know Your Risk

With these steps you can reduce, prevent and detect melanoma early.



Today, May 8th 2013 marks the very first World Ovarian Cancer Day. Today several organizations from around the world will join forces to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and to help educate the public about its symptoms.

Approximately 11-15% of ovarian cancer cases are caused by mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. When someone carries a mutation in either of these genes, they have a syndrome called Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) syndrome. Once a women has been identified as being at increased risk of HBOC, genetic test results provide the most accurate means of ovarian cancer risk assessment.

A woman with HBOC syndrome has an up to 44% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70 as opposed to the general population which has typically a less than 1% chance of developing ovarian cancer by the same age.

The following questions can be asked to help determine whether someone has a higher risk for ovarian cancer because of their own cancer history and their family’s history.

Knowing your potential risk can help your healthcare provider and you make better, more informed decisions about your health, before the onset of cancer or before a second cancer has a chance to develop. Testing should be considered for HBOC syndrome if:

You:

  • Have had breast cancer at age 50 or younger
  • Have had ovarian cancer at any age
  • Are male and have had breast cancer at any age
  • Are of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have a personal or family history of breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer*

Your Family:

  • Has had two breast cancers in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has had somebody diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at any age
  • Has had pancreatic cancer and an HBOC-associated* cancer in the same person or on the same side of the family
  • Has three or more family members with breast cancer on the same side of the family

* HBOC-associated cancers are breast, ovarian and pancreatic.

**Assessment criteria based on medical society guidelines. For these individual medical society guidelines, go to www.myriadpro.com/guidelines

To help assess whether you or someone you know would be a good candidate for HBOC testing, you can take the Hereditary Cancer Quiz. This quiz can help you get the information you need to discuss you risk of cancer with your healthcare provider and ask for further evaluation. If someone matches any of the red flags above or takes the quiz and finds red flags in their own history or their family history, they may benefit from hereditary cancer testing.



MELANOMA MONDAY
Know The Facts

Skin cancer is one of the most common form of all cancers. Though accounting for less than 5% of all skin cancers, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer responsible for the majority of skin cancer attributed deaths.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 80,000 new melanomas diagnosed in 2013 with incidence rates on the rise for the last 30 years. This year, almost 9,000 people are expected to die of melanoma. It is well established that early detection and treatment of melanoma are essential for the best outcome.


Melanoma Awareness Banner

What Is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. These cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. These tumors originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Melanomas often resemble moles; some develop from moles. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.

  • From 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old.
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 57 minutes).
  • Of the seven most common cancers in the US, melanoma is the only one whose incidence is increasing. Between 2000 and 2009, incidence climbed 1.9 percent annually.
  • There are almost 950,000 men and women alive in the U.S. with a history of melanoma.
  • Survival with melanoma increased from 49% (1950 – 1954) to 92% (1996 – 2003).
  • The overall 5-year survival rate for patients, whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes or other organs, is about 98% in the US. The survival rate falls to 62% when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 15% when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.
Know The Facts.
This is the first step in reduction, prevetion and early detection.


*Melanoma facts adapted from www.skincancer.org



We’re in the business of saving lives.  That’s what really matters to me, and to the very bright people who work with me at Myriad. 

We offer testing for patients who, based on their family history, are concerned they are at increased genetic risk for cancer.  If a woman learns from our test that she faces a greater threat of breast cancer or ovarian cancer, she can take action to protect herself and reduce her risk.  If she tests negative, that peace of mind can be very valuable. (Click Here for more information on BRACAnalysis Testing)

We are now arguing before the Supreme Court in favor of strong patents. Without the patents, our work would not have been possible. We would not have been able to raise the funds necessary to decode the genes, design and deliver the tests, interpret the results, and help patients.

There are many misconceptions about what genetic companies actually do.  We did not patent the genes in your body, and neither does any other company.  That’s not possible under U.S. patent law.  Instead, we patented synthetic molecules  based on the genes that were created in the lab in order to deliver life-saving tests to patients.  Those molecules are not found in the human body and are different from the DNA found in cells. (Learn more about gene patent myths and facts here)

 

Related: Making Breakthroughs

More than one million patients have benefited from our tests for hereditary breast, colon, uterine and ovarian cancer.  

We’ve also done extensive clinical studies so that insurance companies have the information they need. Because of those studies, 95 percent of the appropriate patients are covered by insurance and the average out-of-pocket cost for the test  is about $100.  And for patients who cannot afford it, we make tests available for free.  In fact, more than 5,000 women have received free testing in the last three years.

In exchange, we think it is right for a company to be able to own its discoveries, earn back its investment, and make a reasonable profit.  The Supreme Court case could have broad implications for the biopharmaceutical, animal health and agricultural industries, and the development of cutting-edge products and services are of enormous benefit to society. Countless companies and investors have risked billions of dollars to research and develop scientific advances under the promise of strong patent protection. 

The patent system gives inventors a limited number of years as stewards over what that they create.  We’ve been excellent stewards and we’re continually working on new and better products using the capital generated from our patented products. (Read Myriad’s official company statement)

Which brings me back to where I began.  Our top priority is patients.  It is very gratifying to hear from people who have lived longer, healthier lives because of our work. That work was only possible because of the patents that we are now defending in court.

 

Pete Meldrum
President and CEO
Myriad Genetics, Inc.




(you can also view Jill’s video HERE)

My name is Jill and I am a two-time cancer survivor—I was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 30 and endometrial cancer at age 40.

My family has dealt with cancer for five generations, including three deaths from cancer. It was a mystery in my family as to why we had so much cancer, until recently when I received genetic testing. I now know that I have Lynch Syndrome: a hereditary, genetic condition that predisposes me to multiple cancers.

When I was thirty years old, I was working part time as a RN and raising my 1½ year old son. One day I had a bout of rectal bleeding, my second, but this time it was clots. I knew that I had better call my doctor and have it checked out, though, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that it must be hemorrhoids. My family doctor reviewed my family health history very carefully. She took it seriously that I had lots of cancer in my family, with the connecting link being colon cancer. While I was still in her office, my doctor called my mother’s gastroenterologist and made an appointment for me, insisting that I get a colonoscopy. She was concerned. She saved my life…

Read More



Saturday, March 9, 2013 was a chilly morning on the coast of southern California but OH WHAT A DAY! Twenty eight people and one boxer joined Team Myriad for the 2013 Undy 5000 at Mission Bay Park in San Diego to show support and raise awareness about colorectal cancer and hereditary colon cancer syndromes.

Team Myriad:

 

All 28 team members were heroes for the day but one champion stands out. Stan Lambert is our colon cancer champion. Stan showed up on this Undy 5000 morning after having chemo treatment the day before and ran with the team.  Yeah, Stan is a stud, an amazing human and a phenomenal fund raiser!  

Stan, number 466:

Because of motivation from the entire team, Team Myriad won the Top Team Fundraising award.  As of today a total of $8,640 has been raised to support the Colon Cancer Alliance and their mission to provide hope and support to patients and their families, while saving lives through screening, access, awareness, advocacy and research. The entire team should be so proud – they are all amazing! Not only in fundraising but also showing up on a chilly Saturday morning to show support for such a great cause. 

Saturday.

What a day!

Leading up to this day, phenomenal.

The day, extraordinary.

Today, memories of success linger.

There have been 12 Undy 5000 Team Myriad’s throughout the U.S. since September 2013 with three more to go. The San Diego team has been the most successful in fundraising to date but ALL events have been successful in raising awareness about hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes in the Myriad booth at the events. It has been an amazing experience and a terrific way to give back to the cancer community.

Team Myriad… YOU ROCK!!

If you would like to donate to a Myriad Undy 5000 team you can visit and donate at any of the links below!

Buffalo, NY Team - CLICK HERE

Denver, CO Team - CLICK HERE

Sacramento, CA Team - CLICK HERE

For more information on participating in an Undy5000 event or to learn more about colorectal cancer please visit the following pages:
https://ccalliance.org/undy5000/index.html 
https://www.facebook.com/ColonCancerAlliance
http://twitter.com/CCAlliance

PAST EVENTS!

DC Undy:

Philadelphia, PA Undy:

Piedmont Triad, North Carolina Undy:

West Palm Beach, FL Undy:

— Carolyn Horn Dumond
Patient Education and Advocacy
Associate Product Manager, Oncology