Headlined “Wear Your Beauty Brilliantly,” the PSA is designed to raise awareness about the life-saving benefits of protecting oneself from harmful exposure to UV rays that increase the risk of being diagnosed with melanoma and is the first element in a “Protect Your Skin” campaign.
The deadliest of all skin cancers, melanoma is the fastest growing cancer globally and its incidence has tripled in the U.S. over the past three decades. While prevention is the first step, early detection of melanoma is key to survival. Through the PSA, SU2C and MRA also encourage people to look for changes in their skin and to speak to their dermatologists or health care providers about signs and risks. When caught early, the five year survival rate for melanoma is 92%.
Linney, an SU2C celebrity ambassador, has helped shine a spotlight specifically on melanoma through her role on The Big C. In the series, her character “Cathy” is a Midwestern wife, mother, and public school teacher who is contending with Stage 4 melanoma. With an awareness of cancer from childhood—her mother was a nurse at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York—Linney is well-versed in the preventive measures one can take to reduce chances of a melanoma diagnosis.
“All it takes is a single reminder for a person to do a self-exam that could save his or her life. Melanoma and Breast Cancer can often be seen and felt, respectively, and the impact of open conversations about cancer and its prevention cannot be underestimated. So talk about Cancer. Encourage the women you care about to do a self breast-exam regularly, and everyone to look over their bodies for any strange markings. Communication can curtail cancer, so talk it up!” Linney said.
MRA is the largest private funder of melanoma research. To date, MRA has awarded $38 million to 97 research programs to make transformative advances in the prevention, diagnosis, staging, and treatment of melanoma, including research in biological causes of carcinogenesis, skin screening, biomarkers, imaging, immunotherapy, molecularly targeted therapy, and combination therapy. MRA’s ultimate goal is to find a cure by funding the most promising melanoma research worldwide that will accelerate progress and improve outcomes for patients and all who are at risk for the disease.
“We are honored to have Laura Linney and our friends at Stand Up To Cancer join MRA by raising awareness about melanoma and melanoma research with the ‘Wear Your Beauty Brilliantly’ PSA,” said Debra Black, co-founder, MRA. “Through her support of the cause and her moving performance on The Big C, Laura has kept melanoma at the forefront of public consciousness, and that work is heartening to all of us at MRA. Stand Up To Cancer has helped shake up the culture of cancer research and we’re excited about working with their esteemed scientists and doctors to find better treatments and, eventually, a cure for melanoma.”
In December, 2011, SU2C announced its first jointly funded Dream Team in collaboration with the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA). The SU2C-MRA Melanoma Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant provides $6 million during a three-year period.
The Dream Team, led by Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., president and research director at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix and Patricia M. LoRusso, director of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, is exploring “Personalized Medicine for Patients with BRAF Wild-Type (BRAFwt) Cancer.” The team’s members are working to identify new therapeutic targets to treat patients with BRAFwt metastatic melanoma, an area where historically there has been little progress.
“Stand Up To Cancer’s mission is rooted in collaboration, and this campaign with the Melanoma Research Alliance and Laura Linney underscores that brilliantly,” said SU2C co-founder Sherry Lansing. “We all have a responsibility to get the message out far and wide about the importance of protecting yourself from harmful UV rays.”