According to the Melanoma Foundation, one person dies from melanoma every hour in this country. It's enough to make one doctor start a one-woman crusade.
She purposely likens her fight against melanoma as a war. This Oregon researcher and physician wants to enlist the support of millions of "allies" as she attacks the deadly cancer, and she already has international backing.
Dermatologist Sancy Leachman has seen too many people die to not try and stop the onslaught of melanoma cases.
“I’m trying to do something about this traumatic thing that can happen before it happens, even if they don’t, they should be worried. I know they should be worried and we have to get to them as soon as possible," Dr. Leachman explained.
This means before melanoma hits.
In March of 2014, Dr. Leachman began a national registry of survivors, friends and family members to speed research as well as awareness.
“My daughter, when she was 25, was diagnosed with melanoma. So that was a traumatic experience," said Marcia Walsh, a War on Melanoma volunteer.
But three years later, Walsh spotted it again on her daughter’s leg.
“And I asked her ‘Ashton, how could you have not done something about this?’ ‘Why would I think I have melanoma? I’m only 25 years old,'" Walsh said.
That’s the kind of misconception targeted by the War on Melanoma, which now has volunteers in 36 states and at least seven countries.
“The thing about melanoma is that it is one of the most aggressive cancers on the planet.” Dr. Leachman stated.
As determined as any one woman can be, Dr. Leachman takes this war, and its victims, very seriously.
“Especially the young women who have kids, it’s really hard. But there’s a way to prevent that from happening. We can do it together, for sure," she said.
And one thing to note, doctors say redheads are far more susceptible to melanoma than blonde or dark-haired people.
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