Dermatologist leads war against melanoma with hope Michigan residents will join her army

Portland dermatologist leads war on melanoma

A Portland dermatologist is leading a war on melanoma and is looking for volunteers in Michigan to join her fight.

Dr. Sancy Leachman has seen too many people die to not try to 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 (worry), they should be worried. I know they should be worried, and we have to get to them as soon as possible," Leachman said.

She wants people to be more aware of melanoma before it’s too late. In March of 2014, she began a Melanoma Community Registry, a national registry of survivors, friends and family members to speed research as well as awareness.

She told Local 4 her mission is three-fold: to educate about prevention and early detection, activism including alerting people to potential legislation in their states so they can help support it and research so more people can participate in studies in their areas.

"My daughter, when she was 25, was diagnosed with melanoma. So that was a traumatic experience," Marcia Walsh, a War on Melanoma volunteer, said.

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.

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,'" Leachman said.

Michigan only has nine participants in the Melanoma Community Registry. Leachman would like to see more. Anyone interested in learning about the registry can click here.

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