Increasing Awareness, Saving Lives
Approximately 90% of melanomas are considered to be preventable and when caught early, most cases are very treatable and highly survivable. Despite this, over 207,000 people will be diagnosed with cutaneous, ocular, pediatric or mucosal melanoma in the United States this year, and over 7,100 will be lost to the disease. The MRF is committed to increasing awareness of melanoma prevention and early detection while offering the most helpful resources for treatment, survivorship and support. Read below to learn about our current awareness campaigns and the inspiring individuals they highlight:
Launched in 2014, #GetNaked is the MRF’s award-winning cutaneous (skin) melanoma early detection campaign. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but can be highly treatable when caught in the early stages. The campaign urges everyone to #GetNaked once a month for a self-skin exam at home, and have an annual (or more often, if your doctor recommends) full body exam by a board certified dermatologist. If you discover a new, changing or otherwise suspicious spot on yourself or a loved one, make an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. Since 2018, individuals featured in the #GetNaked campaign are actual melanoma patients, survivors and caregivers from the MRF community. Learn more about their stories here:
- 2023: Teddi Mellencamp
- 2022: Monique M. – Summer S.
- 2021: Cassie B. – Darren R.
- 2020: Dr. Marmur – Dayanara T.
- 2019: Karolina J.
- 2018: Missy R. – Joe L. – Jackie S.
Launched in 2021, #OutOfTheShadows is the MRF’s awareness campaign for mucosal melanoma, a rare subtype that makes up only 1% of all melanoma cases. As with the skin, melanocytes, the pigment producing cells of the body, are also present in the mucosal surfaces of the body, lining the sinuses, nasal passages, oral cavity, vagina, anus and other areas. Mucosal melanoma can affect areas of the body that it’s not always comfortable to talk about, and it can often be overlooked or misdiagnosed as a more common or less serious condition. #OutOfTheShadows shares the stories of mucosal melanoma patients, survivors and caregivers to increase awareness about this rare disease, its symptoms and those it affects.
Introduced in 2016, #EyeGetDilated is the MRF’s ocular (eye) melanoma awareness campaign. In early stages, ocular melanoma (OM) can have few or no symptoms and it is most often discovered during a routine dilated eye exam. The #EyeGetDilated campaign encourages everyone, even those with no vision problems, to include this simple but potentially life-saving exam in their annual wellness routine. Because ocular melanoma is far less common, and in many ways different, than cutaneous (skin) melanoma, the #EyeGetDilated campaign also offers an opportunity for courageous OM patients, survivors and caregivers to share their stories and bring awareness to this rare disease.
- 2022: Kathryn W. – Karen M. – Chad T.
- 2020: Dr. Shoushtari – Ryan F. – Vikki M. – Steven J. – Mark W.
- 2019: Shea B. – Nigel D. – Dr. Skalet – Stephanie L. – Roger Z. – Lindsay Z.
- 2018: Jim M. – Joseph B. – Dr. Shields – Ashley M. – Carrie R.
Spot-ing the Difference
In 2021, we are excited to launch a new campaign with Spot the Dog and how Spot-ing the Difference may save your child’s life. Because of its rarity and the fact that it can have a different appearance than melanoma in adults, pediatric melanoma can be often overlooked or misdiagnosed, even by a doctor. The Spot-ing the Difference campaign encourages parents to learn about different ways pediatric melanoma may appear on their child’s skin and closely monitor for new, changing or otherwise suspicious spots. Spot also teaches kids how to perform their own self-skin checks as they grow old enough to take an active role in maintaining their health and to report anything they find to their parent or trusted adult. Inspiring stories of pediatric melanoma patients, siblings and families are highlighted each September in recognition of Pediatric Melanoma Awareness Month, including the families and melanoma experts featured when the campaign launched:
- 2022: Dr. Sondak, Dr. Messina & Dr. Pappo – Millie – Keasy – Shannon – Christine S.
- 2020: Dr. Sondak – Joe A. (Father) – Landon A. – Kara L. (Mother) – Dominic and Patrick L. (Brothers) – Daphne K. (Mother)
- 2019: Clara S. – Dr. Sondak & Dr. Messina – Ruby T. – Dr. Gehris – Daniel F. – Dr. Seynnaeve