Novartis teams up with Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman on advanced melanoma educational and community support program
- “Melanoma Just Got Personal” provides helpful information about this deadly cancer, and how knowledge can help patients make better treatment decisions
- Advanced melanoma, that has spread to other organs (metastatic) or cannot be removed with surgery (unresectable), is the most serious form of skin cancer1,2,3
- Troy Aikman shares his experience with melanoma and how he hopes to mobilize patients battling late-stage melanoma and their supporters to learn more
EAST HANOVER, NJ, January 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Pro Football Legend, Hall of Famer and former melanoma patient Troy Aikman is teaming up with Novartis and the advocacy community to educate patients and caregivers about advanced melanoma, one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer3. The new initiative, Melanoma Just Got Personal, brings attention to the many forms of advanced melanoma, provides educational resources to help people learn more about the disease, and rallies support for those fighting for their lives.
“Throughout my football career I learned that preparing for and understanding my opponent was the most effective way to beat them, and I see the same situation for people battling advanced melanoma,” said Troy. “We're asking patients and caregivers to team up, mark their cancer opponent, and learn more about this disease so they can be prepared for the fight.”
Melanoma that cannot be removed by surgery (unresectable) or has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) - known as advanced melanoma - is the most serious form of skin cancer1,2,3. Melanoma can vary from person to person because of various genetic changes, often called mutations, which may be present in the tumor2. Melanoma is one of the cancers with the highest frequency of mutations4,5.
“Through scientific advances we now know that melanoma can have different types of genetic abnormalities called mutations. These mutations send signals to the melanoma cells to continue growing and spreading,” said Dr. Anna Pavlick, Professor of Medicine and Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and co-director of the Melanoma Program at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center. “Prompt identification of genetic mutations in advanced melanoma allows oncologists to determine the best treatment plan for that particular person.”
It is recommended that patients with advanced melanoma be tested to learn their tumor mutation status, which is an important step in determining how to best fight this disease6,7. The BRAF mutation is the most common mutation in advanced melanoma, occurring in about half of all advanced melanoma cases2. Other mutations include NRAS, c-KIT, or what's known as Wild-Type, which is when no mutation has been identified in the melanoma tumor8,9. Mutation status can make a difference in determining the treatment path for each patient2.
A Resource to Get Informed
Troy Aikman was diagnosed with stage II melanoma in 1998. At the time of his diagnosis, Troy didn’t know much about the disease, but he knew it could be deadly. Fortunately, his melanoma was caught early, before it spread. Given his personal history with melanoma and knowing how devastating cancer can be from friends and family who have fought cancer, he feels compelled to raise awareness about advanced melanoma and support those who are in a fight for their life.
Novartis and Troy want to support those living with advanced melanoma with the resources they need to get informed, as well as inspiration to battle this disease. To help patients navigate this information and learn about just how personal melanoma can be, a new resource, www.MelanomaJustGotPersonal.com, has been launched specifically for patients, caregivers, and families in their fight against advanced melanoma.
“We are proud to collaborate with the patient community and Troy on this important initiative that brings much-needed attention and support to advanced melanoma patients and their loved ones,” said Bill Hinshaw, Executive Vice President and Head, US, Novartis Oncology. “Our hope is that together we can be a source of information and inspiration and help patients better understand their form of advanced melanoma so they can better advocate for a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to them.”
Similar to eye black or face paint athletes wear to prepare for a game against a tough opponent, Melanoma Just Got Personal has created personalized markings to show the different mutations of the disease. Campaign partners are asking patients and supporters to show their strength, resolve and knowledge by sharing a photo of themselves wearing the marking that represents their particular form of advanced melanoma. Nobody can fight cancer alone, which is why there is also a marking anyone can wear to show their support and let people with advanced melanoma know that they are not alone in their fight.
For more information, including how to create a marking and upload a photo, go to www.MelanomaJustGotPersonal.com. The website also contains information about advanced melanoma, just how personal it is and how you can join the fight for yourself or someone you know. It's important to talk with your physician about ways to identify which form of advanced melanoma you have, and what it can mean for your treatment approach in the fight of your life.
Melanoma Just Got Personal was developed in collaboration with melanoma patient advocacy organizations including AIM at Melanoma Foundation, the Melanoma International Foundation, and the Melanoma Research Foundation.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative medicines aimed at improving patients' lives. We offer a broad range of medicines for cancer, cardiovascular disease, endocrine disease, inflammatory disease, infectious disease, neurological disease, organ transplantation, psychiatric disease, respiratory disease and skin conditions. The company's mission is to improve people's lives by pioneering novel healthcare solutions.
Located in East Hanover, New Jersey, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is an affiliate of Novartis AG, which provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.0 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 120,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
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- NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Melanoma. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Version 1.2014.
- Melanoma Skin Cancer. American Cancer Society. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003120-pdf.pdf. Accessed December 1, 2015.
- A Snapshot of Melanoma. National Cancer Institute. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/research/progress/snapshots/melanoma. Accessed December 1, 2015.
- Watson IR, Takahashi K, Futreal PA, et al. Emerging patterns of somatic mutations in cancer. Nat Rev Genet. 2013;14(10):703-718.
- Braeuer RR, Watson IR, Wu CJ, et al. Why is melanoma so metastatic? Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014;27(1):19-36.
- Heinzerling L, Kühnapfel S, Meckbach D, et al. Rare BRAF mutations in melanoma patients: implications for molecular testing in clinical practice. Br J Cancer. 2013;108(10):2164–2171.
- Dummer R, Hauschild A, Lindenblatt N, et al. Cutaneous melanoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol. 2015;26 Suppl 5:v126-132.
- Shtivelman E, Davies MQ, Hwu P, et al. Pathways and therapeutic targets in melanoma. Oncotarget. 2014;5(7):1701-1752.
- Melanoma Treatment–for health professionals (PDQ®): Cellular and Molecular Classification of Melanoma. National Cancer Institute. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/hp/melanoma-treatment-pdq#section/_883. Accessed December 1, 2015.
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