SCERF: What it is and Why You Need to Know About it

By Alicia Rowell, Vice President SCERF. It’s short for the Skin Cancer Education and Research Foundation, but we always call it SCERF. Admittedly, the acronym is a bit odd. The late Val Guild disliked the nickname immediately after we coined it. But despite the unappealing moniker, SCERF—one of AIM at Melanoma’s most recent initiatives—has become a tremendous resource for a … Read More

Survivor Profile: Karlee Steele, Stage IIIB Survivor

By Alicia Rowell, Vice President A silent killer. That’s how melanoma was once described to Karlee Steele, and the silent part would turn out to be especially fitting in her case. A resident of Austin, Texas, Karlee has worked in media sales for her entire career, the last ten years with Gannett and the Austin American Statesman. She’s a communicator, … Read More

Hiking the Appalachian Trail for Gillen

By Mara Klecker Sometimes, all Tim Geary can think about as he’s hiking the Appalachian Trail is making it over the next hill. But he also finds his mind drifting to Gillen, his wife of 53 years, who died of melanoma in April 2020. At the end of the 2,190 miles of his thru-hike, when he reaches the top of … Read More

International Survivor Spotlight: Zivorad Antonic, Serbia

By Mara Klecker When Zivorad Antonic was a child, he often heard his grandmother comment on the many moles on his skin. They were good luck, she told him then, repeating an adage common in Serbia. So in February 2016, when Zivorad noticed a new mole on the inner thigh of his right leg, he thought of his grandmother’s words … Read More

Survivor Spotlight: Melissa Papock, Founder of Cabana Life

By Mara Klecker Melissa Papock was 26 when she pointed out a small pink spot on her left arm to her dermatologist during a routine body check. She still doesn’t know what compelled her to ask about it — she figured then that it might have been no more than a scar from a mosquito bite — but a biopsy … Read More

In Plain English—COVID-19, the vaccines, and melanoma: What do melanoma patients and their families need to know?

  By Kim Margolin, M.D. Coronavirus is novel (new), and the vaccines are even newer, so little melanoma-specific information is available. But there are some data, and we will share what is known. We’ll also share what is known about COVID-19 and other cancers, which provides useful information in thinking about the similarities and differences to melanoma. In this article, … Read More

In Plain English—Intratumoral Injection: Boosting the immune response against metastatic melanoma by the direct injection of immunotherapy into tumor masses

  By Kim Margolin, M.D. Using the patient’s own immune system to combat melanoma is a powerful tool for patients with metastases—those whose melanoma has recurred or spread to a different part of the body from where it originally arose.  Over half of patients can now experience remissions (reduction of the size of some or all tumors and relief of … Read More

In Plain English—Neo-Adjuvant Therapy for Palpable/Resectable Stage III Melanoma

  By Kim Margolin, M.D. In this chapter of “In Plain English,” we will describe the concept of neo-adjuvant therapy. Certain terms are used to describe the order of therapies given to cancer patients. In the context of melanoma, neo-adjuvant means treatment that is given prior to surgery, and adjuvant means treatment that is given after surgery. In both neo-adjuvant and adjuvant … Read More

In Plain English: What is a “Triplet,” and Why Does it Matter in Melanoma?

By Kim Margolin, M.D. A “triplet” is the casual term to describe the combination of three drugs to treat cancer. Multiple two-drug combinations (“doublets”) are approved to treat melanoma, but only recently have clinical trials tested triplets. One of those triplets has been newly approved to treat BRAF-mutant melanoma. Two of the three drugs are targeted therapies, and the third … Read More