​It's Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Please join the AACR in supporting skin cancer and melanoma research.

There are several different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell skin cancer, and squamous cell skin cancer.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in the United States, with more than 2 million people diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are nonmelanoma skin cancers, are the most common types of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body.

Melanoma is the rarest and most aggressive form of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body.

Although melanoma represents less than 5 percent of the skin cancer cases diagnosed in the United States each year, it results in the most deaths. According to estimates made from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, some 87,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and nearly 10,000 people will die of the disease in 2017.

Melanoma is more common in men than women and among individuals of fair complexion. Unusual moles, exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time, and health history can affect the risk of melanoma.

In addition to the skin, melanoma may also occur in mucous membranes – thin, moist layers of tissue that cover surfaces such as the lips – or in the eye, which is called ocular or uveal melanoma.

What the AACR Is Currently Doing in This Area

The AACR and the Ocular Melanoma Foundation (OMF) support the Ocular Melanoma Foundation-AACR Fellowship, in honor of the Kammerman family, to find cures and better treatments for ocular melanoma – a rare and aggressive form of melanoma. The grantee for 2017 is Vivian Chua, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Thomas Jefferson University, for her study, "Novel Epigenetic Targeting Approaches in Uveal Melanoma."

The AACR recently awarded the first AACR-Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research to a scientist working in the field of melanoma. Roger S. Lo, MD, PhD, a professor in the Division of Dermatology and associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Medicinal Pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), was recognized for his pioneering research toward identifying the molecular underpinnings of metastatic melanoma and its response to therapy. His work provided the major scientific rationale for testing the effectiveness of inhibitors of BRAF and MEK in combination as a treatment for melanoma—a therapeutic approach that is now globally considered the standard of care.

A melanoma-focused study was also awarded an AACR-Amgen Inc.  Fellowship in Clinical/Translational Cancer Research. Willy Hugo, PhD, also of UCLA, won the fellowship for his study, "Innate Resistance to Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Melanoma Therapy."

The AACR is currently developing a melanoma-focused special conference to take place in 2018.

The AACR's mission is to prevent and cure all forms of cancer.

Source: National Cancer Institute

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization with offices at 615 Chestnut Street, 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | 215.440.9300