"The time is now. Together, we will end cancer."
Those are the infamous words quoted on the MD Anderson website. MD Anderson is a world-renown cancer and research hospital, in fact, #1 in the U.S. for cancer care.
Just this week, MD Anderson announced something BIG. Inspired by America's drive generations ago to put a man on the moon, MD Anderson has launced an ambitious and comprehensive action plan, called the "Moon Shots" Program, to make a giant leap for patients and to dramatically accerlerate the pace of coverting discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths.
What is most exciting about this newly launched program is that MELANOMA was chosen as one of the cancers that MD Anderson has chosen to focus on. It is a little well-known fact that melanoma has historically been one of the least funded cancers for research. Which would explain why the statistics and prognosis for survival of late-stage patients is so dismal. Because there have been many exciting advances for the treatment of melanoma in the last few years (hooray!), this momentum will only accelerate with MD Anderson's new program.
Upon reading this news, I was so relieved, optimistic and hopeful. Relieved because like many late-stage melanoma patients, I am grateful that we have finally taken this big step to put more resources in treating melanoma and finding a cure. I really do believe the end to this disease is closer than we think. And maybe we won't find a "cure", but we find treatments that are effective for the long-term that stabilize or manage the disease to greatly prolong the life of a patient. (Maybe like HIV?)
I am optimistic and hopeful that I will still be around when we find a cure. And how great will be that day! Finding more effective treatments (with hopefully less side effects) will save thousands of lives in the U.S. and millions worldwide.
To read more about MD Anderson's Melanoma's Moon Shot program, go here. On their website, there are also some very inspiring stories of patients who have been treated for melanoma at MD Anderson and are doing well. When I read their stories, I was struck by the commonalities that all of us melanoma warriors share...
Hopeful to find something that will "hold off" our disease, hopeful that we can hold out for something better in the future, and hopeful that we can finally beat melanoma at its own game.