New Helpline Offers Resources and Support for People Facing a Melanoma Diagnosis

NEW YORK, March 23, 2010—Hearing the words, “You have cancer” can be frightening, disorienting and isolating. Because of limited treatment options, a diagnosis of melanoma can be especially devastating. Now, people facing melanoma and their friends and loved ones have a new resource.

A new helpline has just been launched that offers callers free telephone counseling and information by calling 1-877-MRF-6460 (877-673-6460). The Helpline is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (EST) and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) on Friday.

The Melanoma Helpline is a result of a new partnership between the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) and CancerCare, a national non-profit organization that provides free counseling, education and practical support services to individuals and families affected by cancer. The Helpline is staffed by CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers.

Caught early, melanoma is one of the most curable cancers. However, if caught in later stages, melanoma is known to be the deadliest of all skin cancers, and is also one of the fastest growing cancers worldwide. Last year, more than 69,000 people were diagnosed, resulting in 8,650 deaths or one person every hour. One of the most frightening realities is that the incidence of people under 30 developing melanoma is increasing faster than any other demographic group, soaring by 50 percent in young women since 1980.

“A melanoma diagnosis is terrifying, both for patients and their loved ones,” said Tim Turnham, executive director of the MRF. “This new free resource will provide support, and answers to questions about diagnosis and treatment from trained professionals. We are excited to provide this service with CancerCare for the benefit of melanoma patients.”

“We’re honored to partner with the MRF to provide this much-needed resource for people facing melanoma, and offer support and reliable information for patients and the people who care for them,” said Helen H. Miller, LCSW, CEO of CancerCare.

About CancerCare

CancerCare is a national non-profit organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer: people with cancer, caregivers, children, loved ones, and the bereaved. CancerCare programs—including counseling and support groups, education, financial assistance and practical help—are provided by professional oncology social workers and are completely free of charge. To learn more, visit www.cancercare.org.

About The Melanoma Research Foundation

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma. The MRF is an active advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. The MRF’s Web site is the premier source for melanoma information seekers. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.

Call the Melanoma Helpline at 1-877-MRF-6460 (877-673-6460).

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